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W HY THE ROSARY? A FEW G O O D REASONS For w orld peace
“Say the Rosary' every day, to obtain peace for the world."— Our Lady of Fatima, 1917 In his encyclical Mense Maio. Pope Paul urged Christians to pray to Our Lady Queen of Peace for world peace. He laid special emphasis on the Rosary, "the prayer so dear to O ur Lady and so highly rec ommended by the supreme pontiffs." A means for preserving the home
“There is no surer means of calling down God's bless ings upon the family . . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary.— Pope Pius X II ‘‘If families will but listen to my message and give Our Lady ten minutes of their twenty-four hours by recit ing the daily Family Rosary, I assure them that their homes will become, by God's grace, peace, prayer ful places— little heavens, which God the Author of home life has intended they should be!"— Father Peyton For courage in the hardships o f life
" . . . a powerful means of renewing our courage will undoubtedly be found in the Holy Rosary, . . — Pope Leo XI I I A s a ready a n d easy m eans of preserving the faith
“ . . . We have elsewhere brought it to the attention of the devout Christian that not least among the ad vantages of the Rosary is the ready means it puts in his hands to nurture his faith, and to keep him from ignorance of his religion and the danger of error.” — Pope Leo XI I I
ACT O F CONSECRATION T O T H E IMMACULATE H E A R T O F MARY
(St. Louis De Montfort’s Consecration) “I. N., a faithless sinner—renew and ratify today in thy hands, O Immaculate Mother, the vows of my Baptism; I renounce for ever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. "In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day, for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exte rior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and ail that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eter nity. Amen.” Nthll Obstat: Thomar W . Smlildy, S.T.D., Imprimatur: A T b o m ju Edmund) Molloy,
Ceti. Lib. Bishop of Brooklyn
PR A Y ER T O ST. M ICHAEL
(Promulgated by Pope Leo Xlll) St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle; be our protec tion against the malice and snares of the devil. We humbly be seech God to command him. and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. PR A Y E R F O R T H E P O P E
May the Lord preserve our Holy Father Pope John Paul II, give him life, and make him blessed upon earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies. LET US PRAY: O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faith ful, in Thy mercy look down upon Thy servant, John Paul, whom Thou hast appointed to preside over Thy Church, and grant we be seech Thee that both by word and example he may edify those who are under his charge; so that, with the flock entrusted to him, he may attain life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Kindly include in your daily prayers our president and government officials.
e2 /i/jin . J lfa rjj to Scun£ JJominic
THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY by
Saint Louis Mary De Montfort
Translator Mary Barbour, T.O.P.
MONTFORT PUBLICATIONS Bay Shore, N. Y. 11706
Nihil Obstat: Guildmus F Hughes. S.T. Li censor Librorum Imprimatur: Thomas Edmundus Molloy, S.T.D. Archiepiscopus-Episcopus Brooklyniensis. Brooklyni die XVI Julii 1954 This Edition Christ and Country Books. Inc. 1st Priming___ 2nd Printing.. 3rd Printing .. . 4th Printme. 5th Printing. . . . TAN Books and Publishers. Inc. 6th Printing . . . 7th Printing---- ................ Mav 1971 8th Printing. . . May 1972 9th Printing 10th Printing. .. 11th Printing... .............. May 1974 12th Printing. . 13th Printing. . 14th Printing . . . 15th Printing. . . . 16th Printing. 17th Priming. . . .................. July 1977 18th Priming---. May 1980 19th Printing. . . . 20th Printing . . . 21st Printing - .. . Mav 1981 22nd Printing---23rd Printing . . . 24th Printing . . 2,600,000 copies primed in this edition PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Table of Contents PAGE
DEDICATION: To P r ie s t s ........................................
T o Sinners ......................................
To D evout Souls
To L ittle C h il d r e n .....................
P art I WHAT THE ROSARY IS 1st DECADE: O ricin
N a m e .............................
2nd DECADE: P r a y e r s ................................................ 3rd DECADE: M ysteries .......................................... 4th DECADE: M arvelous E f f e c t s ..........................
32 54 74
Part H HOW TO RECITE IT 5th DECADE: P roper D isp o s it io n s ........................
A bout I ndulgences ..........................
D ifferent Methods ........................
APPENDIX: L ist
MONTFORT PUBLICATIONS Books by St. Louis De Montfon and Others: How to Say Your Rosary with St. LouisDc Montfon.............. $0.35 True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis DeMontfon (Paper).........$3.95 True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis DeMontfon (Cloth).........S4.95 True Devotion to Mary—adapted by Eddie Doherty................. $3.95 Love of Eternal Wisdom (Cloth).............................................. $4.95 Love of Eternal Wisdom (F^per).............................................. $2.95 The Secret of Mary by St. Louis De Montfon..................... .$0.50 The Secret of Mary Explained to Children.............................S0.75 The Queen's Secret by Sr. Amatora.........................................SO.75 Pray the Rosary Daily—.06 each—per 100............................... $5.00 (This leaflet is available in Spanish at the same prices.) God Alone—The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie De Montfon (Cloth, gilt edges) ........................................ S24.95 Reign of Jesus through Mary (Cloth, red edges)...................... $6.00 Preparation for Total Consecration.......................................... $2.00 Friends of the Cross by St. Louis De Montfon...................... $1.00 Order from Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, L i , N.Y. U706
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Preface Biographers have already told us much about St. Louis De Montfort and the Rosary; now, with this first English edition of T he Secret of the Rosary, we can listen to Montfort speaking for himself. Drawing upon his own experience as well as upon the experience of others,1 he endeavors to bring home to the reader, “in a simple and straightforward manner,” as he himself tells us, the authentic message of the Rosary; namely, that it is a veritable school of Christian life. He sees it as including essentially the meditation of the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus and Mary, with a view not only to honoring but especially imitating their virtues as held up to our consideration in each mystery. For our Saint, the Rosary was not simply a method of prayer: it was his most effective tool and weapon in his apos tolic work. Fittingly has the Church called him an "Extraordi nary preacher of the Rosary." He preached it in season and out of season; established it in every parish where he gave a mission2 and judged the fruits of the mission by the subsequent perseverance in its recitation. There was no limit to the power of the Rosary and to it he attributed much of his success with sinners. “Let me but place my rosary around a sinner’s neck," he was wont to say, “and he will not escape me." A Dominican Tertiary himself, De Montfort represents the best in the Dominican Rosary tradition. Speaking of our Saint’s contribution to the Rosary, Father R. Poupon, well known Dominican writer says, “Montfort’s genius prolongs in one straight line that of Blessed Alan de la Roche and of S t Dom inic. He completes them by bringing forth a personal grace and interpretation.” Commenting on De Montfort’s book. Father William says, “It goes far beyond mere research. We might say that it contains everything that can be said about the*• 1 See “Tenth Rose," for some of his sources. • It is estimated that he enrolled over 100,000 persons in the Rosary Con fraternity. (Le Crom, S.M.M. "St. L-M. de Montfort” Ch. XV, p. 311.)
The Secret of the Rosary
rosary, about its content and form, its real worth, about the instruction necessary for its appreciation and use.”8 T he Secret of the R osary was written almost two and a half centuries ago, it is true, but it has lost none of its freshness and timeliness. Indeed, today, in the light of the specific re quests of Our Lady of Fatima, it will be doubly welcomed by all true clients of Our Lady. We feel confident that it will bring many souls to a better understanding of the Rosary not only as a prayer but especially as a way of spiritual life. T he E ditors • F. M. William, The Rosary: Its History and Meaning, Benziger Bros., 1952, p. 115.
TH E FRONT COVER
of the SORROW FUL A N D IM M A CU LA TE H EA R T O F MARY: This picture, som ewhat mysterious in its origin, was discovered at the time o f the 1918 armistice in the cellar of the boarding school where Berthe Petit, a humble Franciscan Tertiary, had been educated. A fter the troops had departed one o f the Bemardine nuns in putting things in order found b piece of cardboard on which was pasted a pornographic picture and she tore it off to consign it to flames. To her as tonishm ent she found that it covered this beautiful representa tion of the Blessed Virgin! It seems to combine the art of both the Eastern and the W estern Rites. The facial features resemble those of the well known Pieta. P rayer before this picture has brought signal favors. Confided by O ur Lord to Berthe Petit: “Teach souls to love the H eart o f My M other pierced by the very sorrow which pierced M ine.” (Dec. 25, 1909) “T he H eart o f My M other has the right to be called Sorrow ful and I wish this title placed before that of Im maculate be cause she has won it herself. The C hurch has defined in the case of My M other what I myself had ordained— H er Im maculate Conception. This right which My M other has to a title of justice, is now, according to My express wish, to be known and uni versally accepted. She has earned it by her identification with M y sorrows; by her sufferings; by her sacrifices and her immola tion in Calvary endured in perfect correspondence with My grace for the salvation of mankind . . ." (Sept. 8, 1911) “It is hearts that m ust be changed. This will be accomplished only by the Devotion proclaimed, explained, preached and rec ommended everywhere. Recourse to My M other under this title I wish for her universally, is the last help I shall give before the end of tim e.” (July 2, 1940)
A White Rose For Priests D ear ministers of the Most High, you my fellow priests who preach the truth of God and who teach the gospel to all nations, let me give you this little book as a white rose that 1 would like you to keep. The truths contained in it are set forth in a very simple and straightforward manner as you will see. Please keep them in your heart so that you yourselves may make a practice of the Holy Rosary and taste its fruit: and please have them always on your lips too so that you will always preach the Rosary and thus convert others by teaching them the excellence of this holy devotion. I beg of you to beware of thinking of the Rosary as some thing of little importance— as do ignorant people and even several great but proud scholars. Far from being insignificant, the Rosary is a priceless treasure which is inspired by God. Almighty God has given it to you because He wants you to use it as a means to convert the most hardened sinners and the most obstinate heretics. He has attached to it grace in this life and glory in the next. The saints have said it faithfully and the Popes have endorsed it. When the Holy Spirit has revealed this secret to a priest and director of souls, how blessed is that priest! For the vast majority of people fail to know this secret or else only know it superficially. If such a priest really understands this secret he will say the Rosary every day and will encourage others to say it. God and His Blessed Mother will pour abun dant grace into his soul, so that he may become God’s instru ment for His glory; and his word, though simple, will do more good in one month than that of other preachers in several years. Therefore, my dear brethren and fellow priests, it will not be enough for us to preach this devotion to others; we must practise it ourselves. Even if we firmly believed in the im portance of the Holy Rosary but never said it ourselves, people could hardly be expected to act upon our advice, for 9
The Secret of the Rosary
no one can give what he does not have: “Jesus began to do and to teach.”1 We ought to pattern ourselves on Our Blessed Lord, Who began by practising what He preached. We ought to emulate Saint Paul who knew and preached nothing but Jesus Crucified. This is really and truly what you will be doing if you preach the Holy Rosary. It is not just a con glomeration of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, but on the con trary it is a divine summary of the mysteries of the life, pas sion, death and glory of Jesus and Mary. I could tell you at great length of the grace God gave me to know by experience the effectiveness of the preaching of the Holy Rosary and of how I have seen, with my own eyes, the most wonderful conversions it has brought about. I would gladly tell you all these things if I thought that it would move you to preach this beautiful devotion, in spite of the fact that priests are not in the habit of doing so these days. But instead of all this I think it will be quite enough for this little summary that I am writing if I tell you a few ancient but authentic stories about the Holy Rosary. These excerpts really go to prove what I have outlined for the faithful in French. ’ Acts 1:1.
A Red Rose For Sinners P oor m en and w omen who are sinners, I, a greater sinner
than you, wish to give to you this rose—a crimson one, be cause the Precious Blood of Our Lord has fallen upon it. Please God that it will bring true fragrance into your lives —but above all may it save you from the danger that you are in. Every day unbelievers and unrepentant sinners cry: "Let us crown ourselves with roses.”1 But our cry should be: “Let us crown ourselves with roses of the Most Holy Rosary.” How different are theirs from ours! Their roses are pleasures of the flesh, worldly honors and passing riches which wilt and decay in no time, but ours, which are the Our Father and Hail Mary which we have said devoutly over and over again and to which we have added good penitential acts, will never wilt or die and they will be just as exquisite thousands of years from now as they are today. On the contrary, sinners’ roses only look like roses, while in point of fact they are cruel thorns which prick them during life by giving them pangs of conscience, at their death they pierce them with bitter regret and, still worse, in eternity, they turn to burning shafts of anger and despair. But if our roses have thorns, they are the thorns of Jesus Christ Who changes them into roses. If our roses prick us, it is only for a short time— and only in order to cure the illness of sin and to save our souls. So by all means we should eagerly crown ourselves with these roses from heaven, and recite the entire Rosary every day, that is to say three Rosaries each of five decades which are like three little wreaths or crowns of flowers: and there are two reasons for doing this: First of all to honor the three crowns of Jesus and Mary— Jesus’ crown of grace at the time of His incarnation, His crown of thorns during His passion and His crown of glory in heaven, and of course the three-fold crown which the Most Blessed Trinity gave Mary in heaven. 1 Wisdom 2:8.
The Secret of the Rosary
Secondly, we should do this so that we ourselves may re ceive three crowns from Jesus and Mary. The first is a crown of merit during our lifetime, the second, a crown of peace at our death, and the third, a crown of glory in heaven. If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins “you shall receive a never fading crown of glory.”2 Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practise black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and save your soul, if—and mark well what I say —if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins. In this book there are several stories of great sinners who were converted through the power of the Holy Rosary. Please read and meditate upon them. ■1 Peter 5:4.
A Mystical Rose Tree For Devout Souls G ood and devout souls, who walk in the light of the Holy
Spirit: 1 do not think that you will mind my giving you this little mystical rose tree which comes straight from heaven and which is to be planted in the garden of your soul. It cannot possibly harm the sweet smelling flowers of your contemplations; for it is a heavenly tree and its scent is beau tiful. It will not in the least interfere with your carefully planned flower beds: for, being itself all pure and well-ordered, it inclines all to order and purity. If it is carefully watered and properly attended to every day it will grow to such a mar velous height and its branches will have such a wide span that, far from hindering your other devotions, it will maintain and perfect them. Of course you understand what I mean, since you are spiritually-minded; this mystical rose tree is Jesus and Mary in life, death and eternity; its green leaves are the Joyous Mysteries, the thorns the Sorrowful ones and the flowers, the Glorious Mysteries of Jesus and Mary. The buds are the childhood of Jesus and Mary, and the open blooms show us both of them in their sufferings, and the full-blown roses symbolize Jesus and Mary in their triumph and glory. A rose delights us because of its beauty—so here we have Jesus and Mary in the Joyous Mysteries. Its thorns are sharp, and prick, which makes us think of them in the Sorrowful Mysteries, and last of all its perfume is so sweet that everyone loves it, and this fragrance symbolizes their Glorious Mysteries. So please do not scorn this beautiful and heavenly tree, but plant it with your own hands in the garden of your soul, making the resolution to say your Rosary every day. By saying it daily and by doing good works you will be tending your tree, watering it, hoeing the earth around i t Eventually you will see that this little seed which I have given you, and which seems so very small now, will grow into a tree so great that the birds of heaven, i.e., predestinate and contemplative souls, 13
The Secret of the Rosary
will dwell in it and make their nests there. Its shade will shelter them from the scorching heat of the sun and its great height will keep them safe from the wild beasts on the ground. And best of all, they will feed upon the tree’s fruit —which is none other than our adorable Jesus, to Whom be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. So be it. G od A lonb
A Rosebud For Little Children D ear little friends , this beautiful rosebud is for you; it is
one of the beads of your Rosary, and it may seem to you to be such a tiny thing. But if you only knew how precious this bead is! This wonderful bud will open out into a gorgeous rose if you say your Hail Mary really well. Of course it would be too much to expect you to say the whole fifteen mysteries every day, but do say at least five mysteries, and say them properly with love and devotion. Tim Rosary will be your little wreath of roses, your crown for Jesus and Mary. Please pay attention to every word I have said—and listen carefully to a true story that I want to tell you, and that I would like you to remember. Two girls (two little sisters) were saying the Rosary very nicely and devoutly in front of their home. A beautiful Lady suddenly appeared, walked towards the younger—who was only about six or seven—took her by the hand, and led her away. Her elder sister was very startled and looked for the little girl everywhere. At last still not having found her, she went home and heart-brokenly told her parents that her sister had been kidnapped. For three whole days the poor father and mother sought the child but could not find her. At the end of the third day they found her at the front door looking extremely happy and pleased. Naturally they asked her where on earth she had been, and she told them that the Lady to whom she had been saying her Rosary had taken her to a lovely place where she had given her delicious things to eat. She said that the Lady had also given her a Baby Boy to hold, that He was very beautiful and that she had kissed Him over and over again. The father and mother, who had been converted to the Catholic Faith only a short time before, sent at once for the Jesuit Father who had instructed them for their reception into the Church and who had also taught them devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. They told him everything that had hap15
The Secret of the Rosary
pened and it was this priest himself who told me this story. It all took place in Paraguay. So, dear children imitate these little girls and say your Rosary every day as they always did. If you do this you will earn the right to go to heaven to see Jesus and Mary. If it is not their wish that you should see them in this life, at any rate after you die you will see them for all eternity. Amen. So be i t Therefore let all men, the learned and the ignorant the just and the sinners, the great and the small praise and honor Jesus and Mary, night and day, by saying the Most Holy Rosary. “Salute Mary who hath labored much among you.”1 1 Romans 16:6.
PART I WHAT THE ROSARY IS
First Rose The Prayers of the Rosary T he R osary is made up of two things: mental prayer and
vocal prayer. In the Holy Rosary mental prayer is none other than meditation of the chief mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. Vocal prayer consists in saying fifteen decades of the Hail Mary, each decade headed by an Our Father, while at the same time meditating on and contemplating the fifteen principal virtues which Jesus and Mary practised in the fifteen mysteries of the Holy Rosary. In the first five decades we must honor the five Joyous Mysteries and meditate on them; in the second five decades the Sorrowful Mysteries and in the third group of five, the Glorious Mysteries. So the Rosary is a blessed blending of mental and vocal prayer by which we honor and learn to imitate the mysteries and the virtues of the life, death, pas sion and glory of Jesus and Mary.
Second Rose Origin Since the Holy Rosary is composed, principally and in sub stance, of the Prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, that is, the Our Father and the Hail Mary, it was without doubt the first prayer and the first devotion of the faithful 17
The Secret of the Rosary
and has been in use all through the centuries, from the time of the apostles and disciples down to the present But it was only in the year 1214, however, that Holy Mother Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by Saint Dominic who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a powerful means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners. I will tell you the story of how he received it, which is found in the very well-known book “De Dignitate Psaltcrii" by Blessed Alan de la Roche.1 Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse where he prayed unceasingly for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of Almighty God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma. At this point Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said: “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” “Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.” Then Our Lady replied: “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal for the con version of the people in that district he made straight for the Cathedral. At once unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together and Saint Dominic began to preach. At the very beginning of his sermon an appalling storm broke out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid. Even greater was their fear when looking at a picture of Our Lady exposed in a prominent place they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God’s vengeance 'D e Dignitate Psnlterii. The importance and Beauty of the Holy Rosary, by Blessed Alan de la Roche, O.P., French Dominican Father and Apostle of the Holy Rosary.
upon them if they failed to be converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of God. God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new devotion of the Holy Rosary and to make it more widely known. At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Holy Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs. In a very short time a great improvement was seen in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.
Third Rose Saint Dominic T his miraculous way in which the devotion to the Holy
Rosary was established is something of a parallel to the way in which Almighty God gave His law to the world on Mount Sinai and obviously proves its value and importance. Inspired by the Holy Ghost, instructed by the Blessed Virgin as well as by his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Holy Rosary for the rest of his life. He preached it by his example as well as by his sermons, in cities and in country places, to people of high station and low, before scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics. The Holy Rosary which he said every day was his prepa ration for every sermon and his little tryst with Our Lady im mediately after preaching. One day he had to preach at Notre Dame in Paris, and it happened to be the feast of St. John the Evangelist He was in a little chapel behind the high altar prayerfully preparing his sermon by saying the Rosary, as he always did, when Our Lady appeared to him and said: “Dominic, even though what you have planned to say may be very good, I am bringing you a much better sermon.” Saint Dominic took in his hands the book Our Lady prof fered, read the sermon carefully and when he had understood it and meditated on i t he gave thanks to the Blessed Mother. When the time came, he went up into the pulpit and, in spite of the feast day, made no mention of Saint John other
The Secret of the Rosary
than to say that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. The congregation was made up of theologians and other eminent people who were used to hearing unusual and polished discourses; but Saint Dominic told them that it was not his wish to give them a learned discourse, wise in the eyes of the world, but that he would speak in the simplicity of the Holy Spirit and with His force fulness. So he began preaching the Holy Rosary and explained the Hail Mary word by word as he would to a group of children and used the very simple illustrations which were in the book Our Lady had given him. Carthagena. the great scholar, quoting Blessed Alan de la Roche in “De Dignitate Psalterii,” describes how this took place: “Blessed Alan writes that one day Father Dominic said to him in a vision: 'My son, it is good to preach; but there is always a danger of looking for praise rather than the salva tion of souls. Listen carefully to what happened to me in Paris so that you may be on guard against this kind of mistake: I was to preach in the great church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and I was particularly anxious to give a brilliant sermon, not out of pride, but because of the high intellectual stature of the congregation. 'An hour before the time I had to preach, I was recollectedly saying my Rosary—as I always did before giving a sermon —when I fell into ecstasy. I saw my beloved friend the Mother of God coming towards me with a book in her hand. ‘Dominic,’ she said, *your sermon for today may be very good indeed, but no matter how good it is I have brought you one that is very much better.’ 'Of course I was overjoyed, took the book and read every word of i t Just as Our Lady had said, I found exactly the right things to say in my sermon, so I thanked her with all my heart. ■When it was time to begin, I saw that the University of Paris had turned out in full force as well as a large number of noblemen. They had all seen and heard of the great things that the good Lord had been doing through me. So I went up into the pulpit. ‘It was the feast of Saint John the Apostle but all I said about him was that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven. Then I addressed the con gregation:
“ ‘My Lords and illustrious Doctors of the University, you are accustomed to hearing learned sermons suited to your aesthetic tastes. Now I do not want to speak to you in the scholarly language of human wisdom but, on the contrary, to show you the Spirit of God and His Greatness.’ " Here ends the quotation from Blessed Alan, after which Carthagena goes on to say in his own words: ‘Then Saint Dominic explained the Angelic Salutation to them, using simple comparisons and examples from every day life.” Blessed Alan, according to Carthagena, mentioned several other times when Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic to urge and inspire him to preach the Rosary more and more in order to wipe out sin and to convert sinners and heretics. In another passage Carthagena says: ‘‘Blessed Alan said Our Lady revealed to him that after she had appeared to Saint Dominic, her Blessed Son appeared to him and said: ‘Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying upon your own wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with great humility for the salvation of souls. ‘But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is given bitter medicine he needs to be prepared by being put in the right frame of mind to really benefit by i t “This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people’s hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter. If only they would all start say ing it and would really persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary.’ ” In another place Blessed Alan says: “All priests say a Hail Mary with the faithful before preach ing, to ask for God’s grace. They do this because of a revela tion that Saint Dominic had from Our Lady. ‘My son,’ she said one day ‘do not be surprised that your sermons fail to bear the results you had hoped for. You are trying to cultivate a piece of ground which has not had any rain. Now when Almighty God planned to renew the face of the earth He started by sending down rain from heaven—and this was the Angelic Salutation. In this way God made over the world.
The Secret o f the Rosary
‘So when you give a sermon, urge people to say my Rosary, and in this way your words will bear much fruit for souls.’ “Saint Dominic lost no time in obeying, and from then on he exerted great influence by his sermons." This last quotation is from the "Book of Miracles of the Holy Rosary" (written in Italian) and it is also to be found in Justin’s works (143d Sermon). I have been very glad to quote these well-known authors word for word in the original Latin1for benefit of any priests or other learned people who might otherwise have doubts as to the mar velous power of the Holy Rosary. As long as priests followed Saint Dominic's example and preached devotion to the Holy Rosary, piety and fervor thrived throughout the Christian world and in those religious orders which were devoted to the Rosary. But since people have neglected this gift from heaven, all kinds of sin and disorder have spread far and wide.
Fourth Rose Blessed Alan de la Roche A ll THINGS, even the holiest, are subject to change, especially when they are dependent on man's free will. It is hardly to be wondered at, then, that the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its first fervor for one century after it was instituted by Saint Dominic. After this, it was like a thing buried and forgot ten. Doubtless, too, the wicked scheming and jealousy of the devil were largely responsible for getting people to neglect the Holy Rosary, and thus block the flow of God’s grace which it had drawn down upon the world. Thus, in 1349, God punished the whole of Europe and sent the most terrible plague that had ever been known into every land. It started first in the east and spread throughout Italy, Germany, France, Poland and Hungary, bringing desolation wherever it came—for out of a hundred men hardly one lived to tell the talc. Big towns, little towns, villages and monasteries were almost completely deserted during the three years that the epidemic lasted. ■We h iv e o m itte d th e L a tin q u o ta tio n s so a s n o t to en c u m b er th e te a t. English tra n slatio n s h av e b ee n g iv e n ab o v e.
This scourge of God was quickly followed by two others: the heresy of the Flagellantes and a tragic schism in 1376. Later on when these trials were over, thanks to the mercy of God, Our Lady told Blessed Alan to revive the ancient Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. Blessed Alan was one of the Dominican Fathers from the monastery at Dinan, in Brittany. He was an eminent theologian and was famous for his sermons. Our Lady chose him because, since the Con fraternity had originally been started in this province, it was most fitting that a Dominican from the very same province should have the honor of re-establishing i t Blessed Alan began this great work in 1460 after a special warning from Our Lord. This is how he received His urgent message, as he tells it himself: One day when he was saying Mass, Our Lord, Who wished to spur him on to preach the Holy Rosary, spoke to him in the Sacred Host: “How can you crucify Me again so soon?” Jesus said. “What did You say. Lord?" asked Blessed Alan, horrified. "You crucified Me once before by your sins,” answered Jesus, “and I would willingly be crucified again rather than have My Father offended by the sins you used to commit You are crucifying Me again now because you have all the learning and understanding that you need to preach My Mother’s Rosary, and you are not doing so. If you only did this you could teach many souls the right path and lead theqa away from sin—but you are not doing it and so you yourself are guilty of the sins that they commit.” This terrible reproach made Blessed Alan solemnly resolve to preach the Rosary unceasingly. Our Lady too spoke to him one day to inspire him to preach the Holy Rosary more and more: “You were a great sinner in your youth,” she said, “but I obtained the grace of your conversion from my Son. Had such a thing been possible I would have liked to have gone through all kinds of suffering to save you because converted sinners are a glory to me. And I would have done this also to make you worthy of preaching my Rosary far and wide.” Saint Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great results of his ministry: he had preached the Holy Rosary unceasingly, his sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during his missions. He said to Blessed Alan: “See the wonderful results I have had through preaching the Holy Rosary 1 You and all those who love Our Lady ought
The Secret of the Rosary
to do the same so that, by means of this holy practice of the Rosary, you may draw all people to the real science of the virtues." Briefly, then, this is the history of how Saint Dominic established the Holy Rosary and of how Blessed Alan de la Roche restored i t
Fifth Rose C onfraternity Strictly speaktno, there can be only one kind of Con
fraternity of the Rosary—one whose members agree to say the entire Rosary of one hundred and fifty Hail Marys every day. However, considering the fervor of those who say it, we may distinguish three kinds: Ordinary membership which entails saying the complete Rosary once a week: Perpetual membership which requires it be said only once a year: Daily membership which obliges one to say it all every day, that is, the fifteen decades made up one hundred and fifty Hail Marys. None of these Rosary memberships binds under pain of sin. It is not even a venial sin to fail in this duty because such an undertaking is entirely voluntary and supererogatory. Needless to say, people should not join the Confraternity if they do not intend to fulfill their obligation by saying the Rosary as often as is required, without, however, neglecting the duties of their state in life. So whenever the Rosary clashes with a duty of one’s state in life, holy as the Rosary is, one must give preference to the duty to be performed. Similarly, sick people are not obliged to say the whole Rosary or even part of it if this effort might tire them and make them worse. If you have been unable to say it because of some duty required by obedience or because you genuinely forgot, or because of some urgent necessity, you have not committed even a venial sin. You will then receive the benefits of the Confraternity just the same, sharing in the graces and merits of your brothers and sisters in the Holy Rosary who are saying it throughout the world. And, my dear Catholic people, even if you fail to say your Rosary out of sheer carelessness or laziness, as long as you do not have any formal contempt for it, you do not sin, absolutely
speaking—but in this case you forfeit your participation in the prayers, good works and merits of the Confraternity. More over, because you have not been faithful in things that are little and of supererogation, almost without knowing it you may fall into the habit of neglecting big things such as those duties which bind under pain of sin. For—“He that contemneth small things, shall fall by little and little.”1 1Ecdus. 19:1.
Sixth Rose M ary’s Psalter E ver since Saint Dominic established the devotion to the Holy
Rosary up until the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established it in 1460 it has always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. This is because it has the same number of Angelic Salutations as there are psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David. Since simple and uneducated people are not able to say the Psalms of David the Rosary is held to be just as fruitful for them as David’s Psalter is for others. But the Rosary can be considered to be even more valuable than the latter for three reasons: 1. Firstly, because the Angelic Psalter bears a nobler fruit, that of the Word Incarnate, whereas David's Psalter only prophesies His coming; 2. Secondly, just as the real thing is more important than its prefiguration and as the body is more than its shadow, in the same way the Psalter of Our Lady is greater than David’s Psalter which did no more than prefigure it; 3. And thirdly, because Our Lady’s Psalter (or the Rosary made up of the Our Father and Hail Mary) is the direct work of the Most Blessed Trinity and was not made through a human instrument. Our Lady’s Psalter or Rosary is divided up into three parts of five decades each, for the following special reasons: 1 . To honor the three Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity; 2. To honor the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ; 3. To imitate the Church Triumphant, to help the members of the Church Militant and to lessen the pains of the Church Suffering;
The Secret of the Rosary 4. To imitate the three groups into which the Psalms are divided: a) The first being for the purgative life, b) the second for the illuminative life, c) and the third for the unitive life; 5. And, finally, to give us graces in abundance during our lifetime, peace at death, and glory in eternity.
Seventh Rose Crown of Roses E ver since Blessed Alan de la Roche re-established this
devotion the voice of the people, which is the voice of God, called it the Rosary. The word Rosary means “Crown of Roses,” that is to say that every time people say the Rosary devoutly they place a crown of one hundred and fifty—three red roses and sixteen white roses upon the heads of Jesus and Mary. Being heavenly flowers these roses will never fade or lose their exquisite beauty. Our Lady has shown her thorough approval of the name Rosary; she has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses. The well-known Jesuit, Brother Alphonsus Rodriguez, used to say his Rosary with such fervor that he often saw a red rose come out of his mouth at each Our Father and a white rose at each Hail Mary. The red and white roses were equal in beauty and fragrance, the only difference being in their color. The chronicles of Saint Francis tell of a young friar who had the praiseworthy habit of saying the Crown of Our Lady (the Rosary) every day before dinner. One day for some reason or other he did not manage to say i t The refectory bell had already been rung when he asked the Superior to allow him to say it before coming to the table, and having obtained the permission he withdrew to his cell to pray. After he had been gone a long time the Superior sent another Friar to fetch him, and he found him in his room bathed in a heavenly light facing Our Lady who had two angels with her. Beautiful roses kept issuing from his mouth at each Hail Mary; the angels took them one by one, placing them on Our Lady’s head, and she smilingly accepted them.
Finally two other friars who had been sent to find out what had happened to the first two saw the same lovely scene, and Our Lady did not go away until the whole Rosary had been said. So the complete Rosary is a large crown of roses and the Rosary of five decades is a little wreath of flowers or a small crown of heavenly roses which we place on the heads of Jesus and Mary. The rose is the queen of flowers, and so the Rosary is the rose of all devotions and it is therefore the most impor tant one.
Eighth Rose M arvels of the Rosary I t would hardly be possible for me to put into words how much Our Lady thinks of the Holy Rosary and of how she vastly prefers it to all other devotions. Neither can I sufficiently express how highly she rewards those who work to preach the devotion, to establish it and spread it, nor on the other hand how firmly she punishes those who work against it. All during life, Saint Dominic had nothing more at heart than to praise Our Lady, to preach her greatness and to inspire everybody to honor her by saying her Rosary. As a reward he received countless graces from her: exercising her great power as Queen of Heaven she cowned his labors with many miracles and prodigies. Almighty God always granted him what he asked through Our Lady. The greatest honor of all was that she helped him crush the Albigensian heresy and made him the founder and patriarch of a great religious order. As for Blessed Alan de la Roche who restored the devotion to the Rosary, he received many privileges from Our Lady; she graciously appeared to him several times to teach him how to work out his salvation, to become a good priest and perfect religious, and how to pattern himself on Our Lord. He used to be horribly tempted and persecuted by devils, and then deep sadness would fall upon him and sometimes he used to be near to despair—but Our Lady always comforted him by her sweet presence which banished the clouds of dark ness from his soul. She taught him how to say the Rosary, explaining its value and the fruits to be gained by it and gave him a great and
The Secret of the Rosary
glorious privilege: the honor of being called her new spouse. As a token of her chaste love for him she placed a ring upon his finger and a necklace made of her own hair about his neck and gave him a Rosary. Father Triteme, Carthagena and Martin of Navarre (both very learned men) and others as well have spoken of him in terms of the highest praise. Blessed Alan died at Zunolle in Flanders September 8th, 1475, after having brought over one hundred thousand people into the Confraternity. Blessed Thomas of Saint John was well known for his sermons on the Most Holy Rosary, and the devil, jealous of the success he had with souls, tortured him so much that he fell ill and was sick so long that the doctors gave him up. One night when he really thought that he was dying, the devil appeared to him in the most horrible form imaginable. There was a picture of Our Lady near his bed; he looked at it and cried with all his heart and soul and strength: "Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!” No sooner had he said this than the picture seemed to come alive and Our Lady put out her hand, took him by the arm and said: “Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you: get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you used to do. I promise to shield you from your enemies.” When Our Lady said this the devil fled and Blessed Thomas got up, finding that he was in perfect health. He then thanked the Blessed Mother with tears of joy. He resumed his Rosary apostolate and his sermons were marvelously successful. Our Lady blesses not only those who preach her Rosary, but she highly rewards all those who get others to say it by their example. Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he used to hang a large rosary on his belt and always wore it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless his wearing it encouraged his courtiers to say the Rosary very devoutly. One day the King fell seriously ill and when he was given up for dead he found himself, in a vision, before the judgment seat of Our Lord. Many devils were there accusing him of all the sins he had committed and Our Lord as Sovereign Judge was just about to condemn him to hell when Our Lady ap peared to intercede for him. She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances whereas she put the rosary that he had always worn on the other scale, together
with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example. It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins. Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said: “As a reward for this little honor that you paid me in wearing my Rosary, 1 have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend these years wisely, and do penance.” When the King regained consciousness he cried out: “Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!” After he had recovered his health he spent the rest of his life in spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day. People who love the Blessed Virgin ought to follow the example of King Alphonsus and that of the saints whom I have mentioned so that they too may win other souls for the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. They will then receive great graces on earth and eternal life later on. “They that explain me shall have life everlasting.”1 1Ecclus. 24:31.
Ninth Rose Enemies I t is very wicked indeed and unfair to other souls to hinder the progress of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. Almighty God has severely punished many of those who have been so benighted as to scorn the Confraternity and who have sought to destroy it. Even though God has set His seal of approval on the Holy Rosary by many miracles, and in spite of the Papal Bulls that have been written approving it, there are only too many people who are against the Holy Rosary today. These freethinkers and those who scorn religion cither condemn the Rosary or try to turn others away from it. It is easy to see that they have absorbed the poison of hell and that they are inspired by the devil— for nobody can con demn devotion to the Holy Rosary without condemning all that is most holy in the Catholic Faith, such as the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation and the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and of His Holy Mother.
The Secret of the Rosary
These freethinkers who cannot bear others to say the Rosary often fall into a really heretical state of mind without even realizing it and some to hate the Rosary and its holy mysteries. To have a loathing for confraternities is to fall away from God and true piety, for Our Lord Himself has told us that He is always in the midst of those who are gathered together in His name. No good Catholic should forget the many great indulgences which Holy Mother Church has granted to Con fraternities. Finally, to dissuade others from joining the Rosary Confraternity is to be an enemy of souls because the Rosary is a sure means of curing oneself of sin and of embracing a Christian life. Saint Bonaventure said (in his Psalter) that whoever neglected Our Lady would perish in his sins and would be damned: “He who neglects her will die in his sins.” If such is the penalty for neglecting her, what must be the punishment in store for those who actually turn others away from their devotions!
Tenth Rose M iracles W hile Saint D ominic was preaching the Rosary in Carcassone, a heretic made fun of the miracles and the fifteen mys teries of the Holy Rosary, and this prevented other heretics from being converted. As a punishment God suffered fifteen thousand devils to enter the man’s body. His parents took him to Father Dominic to be delivered from the evil spirits. He started to pray and begged everyone who was there to say the Rosary out loud with him, and at each Hail Mary Our Lady drove one hundred devils out of the heretic’s body and they came out in the form of red hot coals. After he had been delivered he abjured his former errors, was converted and joined the Rosary Confraternity. Several of his associates did the same, having been greatly moved by his punishment and by the power of the Rosary. The learned Franciscan, Carthagena, as well as several other authors, says that an extraordinary event took place in 1482: The Venerable James Sprenger and other religious of his order were zealously working to re-establish devotion to the Holy
Rosary and also to erect a Confraternity in the city of Cologne. Unfortunately two priests who were famous for their preach ing ability were jealous of the great influence they were exerting through preaching the Rosary. So these two Fathers spoke against this devotion whenever they had a chance, and as they were very eloquent and had a great reputation they persuaded many people not to join the Confraternity. One of them, bound and determined to achieve his wicked end, wrote a special sermon against the Rosary and planned to give it the following Sunday. But when it came time for the sermon he never appeared and, after a certain amount of wait ing somebody went to fetch him. He was found dead, and evidently had died all alone without any one to help him and without seeing a priest. After convincing himself that death had been due to natural causes, the other priest decided to carry out his friend’s plan and to give a similar sermon on another day. In this way be hoped to put an end to the Confraternity of the Rosary. How ever, when the day came for him to preach and it was time to give the sermon God punished him by striking him down with paralysis which deprived him both of the use of his limbs and of his power of speech. At last he admitted his sin and likewise that of his friend and immediately, in his heart of hearts, he silently besought Our Lady to help him. He promised her that if she would only cure him he would preach the Holy Rosary with as much zeal as that with which he had formerly fought against i t For this end he implored her to restore his health and speech which she did, and finding himself instantaneously cured he rose up like another Saul, a persecutor turned defender of the Holy Rosary. He publicly acknowledged his former error and ever after preached the wonders of the Most Holy Rosary with great zeal and eloquence. I am quite sure that freethinkers and ultra-critical people of today will question the truth of the stories in this little book, in the very same way that they have always questioned most things, but all that I have done has been to copy them from very good contemporary writers and also, in part, from a book that was written only a short time ago: “The Mystical Rose Tree,” by the Reverend Antonin Thomas, O.P. Everyone knows that there are three different kinds of faith by which we believe different kinds of stories: To stories of Holy Scripture we owe divine faith;
The Secret of the Rosary
To stories concerning other than religious subjects, which do not militate against common sense and which are written by trustworthy authors, we pay the tribute of human faith; whereas To stories about holy subjects which are told by good authors and are not in the slightest degree contrary to reason, faith or morals (even though they may sometimes deal with happen ings which are above the ordinary run of events) we pay the tribute of pious faith. I agree that we must be neither too credulous nor too critical and that we should remember that "virtue takes the middle course"—keeping a happy medium in all things in order to find just where truth and virtue lie. But on the other hand I know equally well that charity easily leads us to believe all that is not contrary to faith or morals: “Charity . . . believeth all things:”*1 in the same way pride induces us to doubt even well authenticated stories on the plea that they are not to be found in the Bible. This is one of the devil’s traps: heretics of the past who denied Tradition have fallen into it and over-critical people of today are falling into it too without even realizing i t People of this kind refuse to believe what they do not under stand or what is not to their liking, simply because of their own spirit of pride and independence.
Eleventh Rose The Creed T h e C r e e d or the Symbol of the Apostles which is said on the crucifix of the Rosary is a holy summary of all Christian truths. It is a prayer that has great merit because faith is the root, foundation and beginning of all Christian virtues, of all eternal virtues and also of all prayers that are pleasing to Almighty God. “He that cometh to God, must believe . . .”x Whosoever wishes to come to God must first of all believe and the greater his faith the more merit his prayer will have, the more power ful it will be, and the more it will glorify God. I shall not take time here to explain the Creed word for word « 1 Cor. 13:7. 1 Heb. 11:6.
but I cannot resist saying that the first few words “I believe in God” are marvelously effective as a means of sanctifying our souls and of putting devils to rout, because these three words contain the acts of the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. It was by saying 1 believe in God that the saints overcame temptations, especially those against faith, hope or charity— whether they came during their lifetime or at their death. They were also the last words of S t Peter, Martyr;3 a heretic had cleft his head in two by a cruel blow of his sword and S t Peter was almost at his last gasp, but he somehow managed to trace these words in the sand with his finger before he died. The Holy Rosary contains many mysteries of Jesus and Mary and since faith is the only key which opens up these mysteries for us we must begin the Rosary by saying the Creed very devoutly, and the stronger our faith the more merit our Rosary will have. This faith must be lively and informed by charity; in other words, to recite properly the Rosary, it is necessary to be in God’s grace, or at least in quest of i t This faith must be strong and constant, that is, one must not be looking for sensible devotion and spiritual consolation in the recitation of the Rosary; nor should one give it up because his mind is flooded with countless involuntary distractions or one experiences a strange distaste in the soul and an almost continual and oppressive fatigue in the body. Neither feeling, nor consolation, nor sighs, nor transports, nor the continual attention of the imagination are needed; faith and good intentions are quite enough. “Faith alone suffices.”8
Twelfth Rose The Our Father T h e O ur F a t h e r or the Lord’s prayer has great value—above
all because of its Author Who is neither a man nor an angel •Saint Peter of Verona, O.P. 1206-12J3, was a Dominican priest who fought heresy courageously and zealously. He had the honor of re ceiving the habit from the hands of Saint Dominic himself. He was ap pointed Inquisitor for Lombardy, and it was in discharging his duties that he gave his life for the Faith. • From the Pango Lingua.
The Secret of the Rosary
but the King of angels and men. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Saint Cyprian says that it was fitting that our Savior by Whom we were reborn into the life of grace should also be our heavenly Master and should teach us how to pray. The beautiful order, the tender forcefulness and die clarity of this divine prayer pay tribute to our divine Master’s wisdom. It is a short prayer but can teach us so very much and it is well within the grasp of uneducated people, while scholars find it a continual source of meditation on the mysteries of our Faith. The Our Father contains all the duties we owe to God, the acts of all the virtues and the petitions for all our spiritual and corporal needs. Tertullian says that the Our Father is a sum mary of the New Testament. Thomas & Kempis says that it surpasses all the desires of all the saints; that it is a condensa tion of all the beautiful sayings of all the Psalms and Canticles; that in it we ask God for everything that we need; that by it we praise Him in the very best way; that by it we lift up our souls from earth to heaven and unite them with God. Saint John Chrysostom says that we cannot be our Master’s disciples unless we pray as He did and in the way that He showed us. Moreover God the Father listens more willingly to the Prayer that we have learned from His Son rather than those of our own making which have all our human limitations. We should say the Our Father with the certitude that the eternal Father will hear it because It is the prayer of His Son Whom He always hears and we are His members. God will surely grant our petitions made through the Lord’s Prayer because it is impossible to imagine that such a good Father could refuse a request couched in the language of so worthy a Son, reinforced by His merits, and made at His behest Saint Augustine says that whenever we say the Our Father devoutly our venial sins are forgiven. The just man falls seven times a day, but in the Lord's Prayer he will find seven petitions which will both help him to avoid downfalls and will protect him from his spiritual enemies. Our Lord, knowing how weak and helpless we are, and how many difficulties we get into, made His Prayer short and easy to say, so that if we say it devoutly and often we can be sure that Almighty God will quickly come to our aid. I have a word for you, devout souls, who pay little attention to the prayer that the Son of God gave us Himself and asked us all to say: It is high time for you to change your way of
thinking. You only like prayers that men have written— as though anybody, even the most inspired man in the whole world, could possibly know more about how we ought to pray than Jesus Christ Himself! You look for prayers in books writ ten by other men almost as though you were ashamed of saying the prayer that Our Lord told us to say. You have managed to convince yourself that the prayers in these books are for scholars and for rich people of the upper classes and that the Rosary is only for women and children and the lower classes. As if the prayers and praises which you have been reading were more beautiful and more pleasing to God than those which are to be found in the Lord’s Prayerl It is a very dangerous temptation to lose interest in the prayer that Our Lord gave us and to take up prayers that men have written instead. Not that I disapprove of prayers that the saints have written so as to encourage the faithful to praise God, but it is not to be endured that they should prefer the latter to the Prayer which was uttered by Wisdom Incarnate. If they ignore this Prayer it is just as though they pass up the spring to go after the brook and refusing the clear water, drink dirty water instead. Because the Rosary made up of the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation, is this clear and everflowing water which comes from the Fountain of Grace, whereas other prayers which they look for in books are nothing but tiny streams which spring from this fountain. People who say Our Lord’s Prayer carefully, weighing every word and meditating upon it, may indeed call themselves blessed for they find therein everything that they need or can wish for. When we say this wonderful prayer we touch God’s heart at the very outset by calling Him by die sweet name of Father— Our Father. He is the dearest of fathers: all-powerful in His creation, wonderful in the way He maintains the world, com pletely lovable in His Divine Providence,—always good and infinitely so in the Redemption. We have God for our Father, so we are all brothers—and heaven is our homeland and our heritage. This should be more than enough to teach us to love God and our neighbor and to be detached from the things of this world. So we ought to love our Heavenly Father and should say to Him over and over again:
The Secret of the Rosary Our Father Who art in heaven, Tliou Who dost fill heaven and earth With the immensity of Thy Being, Thou Who art present everywhere— Thou Who art in the saints By Thy glory. In the damned By Thy Justice, In the good By Thy grace— And even in sinners By the patience With which Thou dost tolerate them— Grant we beseech Thee That we may always remember That we come from Thee; Grant that we may live As Thy true children ought to live— Grant that we may set our course Towards Thee And never swerve— Grant that we may use Our every power. Our hearts and souls and strength To tend towards Thee And T hee Alone .
Hallowed be Thy name: King David, the prophet, said that the name of the Lord is holy and awe-inspiring, and Isaias that heaven is always echo ing with the praises of the Seraphim who unceasingly praise the holiness of the Lord God of Hosts. We ask here that all the world may learn to know and adore the attributes of our God Who is so great and so holy. We ask that He may be known, loved and adored by pagans, Turks, Jews, barbarians and by all infidels—that all men may serve and glorify Him by a living faith, a staunch hope, a burning charity and by renouncing all erroneous beliefs. This all adds up to say that we pray that all men may be holy, because our God Himself is all-holy.
Thy Kingdom come: Do Thou reign in our souis By Thy grace So that after death We may be found meet To reign with Thee In Thy Kingdom In perfect and unending bliss. Oh Lord we firmly believe In this happiness to come; We hope for and we expect it, Because God the Father Has promised it In His great goodness; It was purchased for us By the merits of God the Son And God the Holy Spirit He Who is the Light Has made it known to us. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: As Tertullian says, this sentence does not in the least mean that we are afraid of people thwarting God’s designs because nothing whatsoever can happen without Divine Providence having foreseen it and having made it fit into His plans before hand. No obstruction in the whole world can possibly prevent the will of God from being carried out. Rather, when we say Thy will be done, we ask God to make us humbly resigned to all that He has seen fit to send us in this life. We also ask Him to help us to do, in all things and at all times. His Holy will, made known to us by the command ments, promptly, lovingly and faithfully as the saints and angels do it in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: Our Lord taught us to ask God for everything that we need whether in the spiritual or temporal order. By asking for our daily bread we humbly admit our own poverty and insufficiency and pay tribute to our God, knowing that all temporal goods come from His Divine Providence.
The Secret of the Rosary
When we say bread we ask for that which is just necessary to live; and, of course, this does not include luxuries. We ask for this bread today this day which means that we are concerned only for the present, leaving the morrow in the hands of Providence. And when we ask for our daily bread we recognize that we need God's help every day and that we are entirely dependent upon Him for His help and protection. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: Every sin, say Saint Augustine and Tertullian, is a debt which we contract towards Almighty God and His justice demands payment down to the very last farthing. Unfortunately we all have these sad debts. No matter how many they may be we should go to God in all confidence and with true sorrow for our sins, saying “Our Father Who art in Heaven, forgive us our sins of thought and those of speech, forgive us our sins of commission and omis sion which make us infinitely guilty in the eyes of Thy Divine Justice. “We dare to ask this because Thou art our loving and merciful Father and because we have forgotten those who have offended us, out of obedience to Thee and out of charity. “Do not permit us, in spite of our infidelity to Thy graces, to give in to the temptations of the world, the devil and the flesh.” But deliver us from evil: The evil of sin and also of temporal punishment and ever lasting punishment which we know that we have rightly deserved. Amen (So be it). This word at the end of Our Father is very consoling and Saint Jerome says that it is a sort of seal of approbation that Almighty God puts at the end of our petitions to assure us that He will grant our requests—very much as though He Himself were answering: “Amen! May it be as you have asked, for verily you have
obtained what you asked for.” This is what is meant by the word “Amen."
Thirteenth Rose The Our Father (Continued) E ach word of the Lord’s Prayer is a tribute we pay to the perfections of God. We honor His fertility by the name of Father: F ather,
Thou Who throughout eternity Dost beget a Son Who is God like Thee— Eternal, consubstantial with Thee W ho Is the very same essence As Thee: And is of like power And goodness And wisdom As Thou art . . . Father and Son Who from Your mutual love Produce the Holy Spirit Who is God like unto You; Three Persons But one G od. Our Father—this means that He is the Father of mankind because He has created us and continues to sustain us, and because He has redeemed us. He is also the merciful Father of sinners, the Father Who is the friend of the just and the glorious Father of the blessed in heaven. When we say Who art, by these words we pay tribute to the infinity and immensity and fullness of God's essence. God is rightly called “He Who is”1; that is to say, He exists of neces sity, essentially, and eternally, because He is the Being of *Exo “Dominic, we beseech you. by the passion of Jesus Christ id by the merits of His Holy Mother and of all the saints,
The Secret of the Rosary
let us leave the body of this man without speaking further—for the angels will answer your question whenever you wish. After all, are we not liars? So why should you want to believe us? Please don’t torture us any more; have pity on us.” “Woe unto you wretched spirits, who do not deserve to be heard,” Saint Dominic said, and kneeling down he prayed to Our Lady: “Oh most worthy Mother of Wisdom, I am praying for the people assembled here who have already learned how to say the Angelic Salutation properly. Please, I beg of you, force your enemies to proclaim the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this, here and now, before the multitude.” Saint Dominic had hardly finished this prayer when he saw the Blessed Virgin near at hand, surrounded by a multitude of angels. She struck the possessed man with a golden rod that she held and said: “Answer my servant Dominic at once.” (Remember, the people neither saw nor heard Our Lady, but only Saint Dominic.) Then the devils started screaming: “Oh you who are our enemy, our downfall and our destruc tion, why have you come from heaven just to torture us so grievously? O Advocate of sinners, you who snatch them from the very jaws of hell, you who are the very sure path to heaven, must we, in spite of ourselves, tell the whole truth and confess before everyone who it is who is the cause of our shame and our ruin? Oh woe unto us, princes of darkness: “Then listen well, you Christians: the Mother of Jesus Christ is all-powerful and she can save her servants from falling into hell. She is the Sun which destroys the darkness of our wile* and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares and makes our temptations useless and ineffectual. “We have to say, however reluctantly, that not a single soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that she offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires and aspirations of all the saints. “We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together and we have no success with her faithful servants. Many Christians who call upon her when they are at the hour of death and who really ought to be damned according to our ordinary standards are saved by her intercession. “Oh if only that Mary (it is thus in their fury that they called her) had not pitted her strength against ours and ha-’ not upset our plans, we should have conquered the Church an
should have destroyed it long before this; and we would have seen to it that all the Orders in the Church fell into error and disorder. "Now that we are forced to speak we must also tell you this: nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because she obtains for her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy.” Then Saint Dominic had them all say the Rosary very slowly and with great devotion, and a wonderful thing happened: at each Hail Mary that he and the people said together a large group of devils issued forth from the wretched man’s body under the guise of red-hot coals. When the devils had all been expelled and the heretic was at last entirely free of them. Our Lady (who was still invisible) gave her blessing to the assembled company, and they were filled with joy because of this. A large number of heretics were converted because of this miracle and joined the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary.
Thirty-Fourth Rose Simon tie Montfort, Alan de Lanvallay and Othere I t is almost impossible to do real credit to the victories that Count Simon de Montfort won against the Albigensians under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary. These victories are so famous that the world has never seen anything to match them. One day he defeated ten thousand heretics with a force of five hundred men and on another occasion he overcame three thousand with only thirty men. Finally, with eight hun dred horsemen and one thousand infantrymen he completely put to rout the army of the King of Aragon which was a hundred thousand strong, and this with the loss on his side of only one horseman and eight soldiers! Our Lady also protected Alan de Lanvallay, a Breton Knight, from great perils. He too was fighting for the Faith against the Albigensians. One day when he found himself surrounded by enemies on all sides Our Lady let fall one hundred and fifty rocks upon his enemies and he was delivered from their hands. Another day when his ship foundered and
The Secret of the Rosary
was about to sink, the Blessed Mother caused one hundred and fifty small hills to appear miraculously above the water and by means of them they reached Brittany in safety. He built a monastery at Dinan for the religious of S t Dominic, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for all the miracles that 6he had worked on his behalf in answer to his daily Rosary. Having become a religious himself he died a holy death at Orleans. Othire was also a Breton soldier, from Vaucouleurs, and he often put whole companies of heretics or robbers to flight unaided, wearing his Rosary on his arm or carrying it on the hilt of his sword. Once when he had beaten them his enemies admitted that they had seen his sword gleam and that another time they had noticed a shield on his arm which had pictures of Our Lord and Our Lady and the saints upon i t This shield made him invisible and gave him-the strength to attack welL Another time he defeated twenty thousand heretics with only ten companies and without losing a single man. This so impressed the general of the heretics’ army that he came to see Oth&re afterwards, abjured his heresy and declared publicly that he had seen him surrounded by flaming swords during the battle.
Thirty-Fifth Rose Cardinal Pierre B lessed A lan says that a certain Cardinal Pierre, whose titular Church was that of St. Mary-beyond-the-Tiber, was a great friend of Saint Dominic’s and had learned from him a deep devotion to the Most Holy Rosary. This resulted in his loving it so much that he never ceased singing its praises and encouraging everyone he met to embrace i t Eventually he was sent as Legate to the Holy Land to the Christians who were fighting the Saracens. So successfully did he convince the Christian army of the power of the Rosary that they started saying it one and all to storm heaven for help in a battle in which they knew they would be pitifully out numbered. This resulted in victory for them, and three thou sand Christians triumphed over an enemy of one hundred thousand. As we have seen, the devils have an overwhelming fear of
the Rosary. Saint Bernard says that the Angelic Salutation puts them to flight and makes all hell tremble. Blessed Alan says that he has seen several people delivered from Satan’s bondage after taking up the Holy Rosary, even though they had previously sold themselves to him in body and soul by renouncing their Baptismal Vows and their allegiance to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thirty-Sixth Rose Freed from Satan I n 1578 a woman in Anvers had given herself to the devil and
had signed the contract with her own blood. Shortly afterwards she was stricken with sincere remorse and had an intense desire to make amends for this terrible deed. So she sought out a kind and wise confessor who advised her to go to Father Henry, one of the Fathers of the Dominican Friary, who was Director of the Rosary Confraternity in that town, to ask him to enroll her in it and hear her confession. Accordingly she went to ask for him but met, not Father Henry, but the devil disguised as a Dominican Father. The latter scolded her pitilessly and said that she could never hope to receive Almighty God's grace again as long as she lived, and that there was absolutely no way in which she could regain possession of her contract. This grieved her greatly but she did not quite lose hope of God’s mercy and sought out Father Henry once more, only to find the devil a second time, and to meet with a second rebuff. She came back for the third time and then at last, by Divine Providence, she found Father Henry in person—the priest whom she had been looking for—and he treated her with very great kindness, urging her to throw her self upon the mercy of Almighty God and to make a good confession. He then received her into the Confraternity and told her to say the Rosary frequently. One day while Father Henry was saying Mass for her Our Lady forced the devil to give her back the contract which she had signed. In this way she was delivered from the devil by the authority of Mary and by her devotion to the Most Holy Rosary.
The Secret of the Rosary
Thirty-Seventh Rose A Monastery Reformed A nobleman who had several daughters entered one of them in a lax monastery were the nuns were very proud and thought of nothing else but worldly pleasures. The nuns’ confessor, on the other hand, was a zealous priest and had a great love for the Holy Rosary. Wishing to guide this nun into a better way of life he ordered her to say the Rosary every day in honor of the Blessed Virgin while meditating on the life, passion and glory of Jesus Christ. She joyously undertook to say the Rosary and little by little she grew to have a repugnance for the wayward habits of her sisters in religion. She developed a love for silence and prayer and this in spite of the fact that the others despised and ridiculed her and called her a fanatic. It was at this time that a holy priest, who was making the visitation of the convent, had a strange vision while he was making his meditation: he saw a nun in her room, rapt in prayer, kneeling in front of a Lady of breathless beauty who was surrounded by angels. The latter had flaming spears with which they repelled a crowd of devils who wanted to come in. These evil spirits then fled to the other nuns’ rooms under the guise of vile animals. By this vision the priest became aware of the lamentable state the monastery was in and he was so upset that he thought he might almost die of grief. He immediately sent for the young religious and exhorted her to persevere. As he pondered on the value of the Rosary, he decided to try to reform the sisters by means of i t He bought a supply of beautiful rosaries and gave one to each nun, imploring them to say the Rosary every day, even going so far as to promise them that, if they would only say it faithfully, he would not try to force them to alter their lives. Wonderful and strange as it may seem the nuns agreed to this pact and were glad to be given the rosaries and promised to say them. Little by little they began to give up their empty and worldly pursuits, letting silence and recollection come into their lives. In less than a year they all asked that the monastery be re formed.
So the Holy Rosary worked more changes In their hearts than the priest could have worked by exhorting and command ing them.
Tliirty-Eightli Rose A Bishop's Devotion A Spanish C ountess , who had been taught the Holy Rosary by Saint Dominic, used to say it faithfully every day with the result that she was making wonderful strides in her spiritual life. Since her one and only thought was how she might attain to perfection she asked a Bishop who was a renowned preacher for some practices that would help her become perfect The Bishop told her that, before he could give her any counsels, she would have to let him know the state of her soul and also what her religious exercises were. She answered that her most important exercise was the Holy Rosary which she said every day meditating on the Joyous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and that her soul was greatly helped by so doing. The Bishop was overjoyed to hear her explain what priceless lessons the mysteries contain. “I have been a doctor of theology for twenty years,” he exclaimed "and I have read many excel lent books on various devotional practices. But never before have I come across one better than this— for it is of the essence of Christianity and is a devotion which cannot but bear fru it I shall follow your example, and from now on I shall preach the Rosary.” The Bishop’s preaching met with great success, for in almost no time his diocese changed for the better. There was a notable decline in immorality and worldliness of all kinds as well as in gambling. There were several striking instances of people being brought back to the Faith, or sinners making restitution for their crimes and of others sincerely resolving to give up lives of vice. Religious fervor and Christian charity began to flourish. These changes were all the more remarkable because this Bishop had been striving to reform his diocese for some time but with hardly any results. To better inculcate devotion of the Rosary, the Bishop also wore a beautiful rosary at his side and always showed it to the congregation when he preached. He used to say:
The Secret of the Rosary
“My dear brethren in Jesus Christ, I am a Doctor of Theol ogy and a Doctor of Canon as well as Civil law, but I say to you, as your Bishop, that I take more pride in wearing Our Lady's Rosary than in any of my episcopal regalia or academic robes.”
Tliirty-Nintli Rose Parish Transformed A D anish priest used to love to tell how the very same im provement that the Spanish Bishop noticed in his diocese had occurred in his own parish. He always told his story with great rejoicing of soul because it gave such glory to Almighty God. He said: “1 had preached as compellingly as I could, touching on many aspects of our Holy Faith, and using every argument I could possibly think of to get the people to amend their way of life. But in spite of all my efforts they went unconcernedly about their way as before; and it was then that I decided to preach the Holy Rosary. “I told my congregations how precious it is and I taught them how to say it. I kept on preaching the Holy Rosary and the devotion took root in the parish. Six months later I was overjoyed to see that people had really changed for the better. How true it is that this God-given prayer has divine power— the power to touch our hearts and to fill them with horror of sin and the love of virtue!” One day Our Lady said to Blessed Alan: "Just as Almighty God chose the Angelic Salutation to bring about the Incarna tion of His Word and the Redemption of mankind, in the same way those who want to bring about moral reforms and who want people reborn in Jesus Christ must honor me and greet me with the same salutation. I am the channel by which God came to men, and so, next to my Son Jesus Christ, it is through me that men must obtain grace and virtue.” I, who write this, have learned from my own experience that the Rosary has the power to convert even the most hardened hearts. 1 have known people who have gone to missions and who have heard sermons on the most terrifying subjects with out being in the least moved; and yet, after they had, on my advice, started to say the Rosary every day they eventually
became converted and gave themselves completely to God. When I have gone back again to visit parishes where I have given missions I have seen a tremendous difference in them; in those parishes where people had given up the Rosary they had generally fallen back into their sinful ways again, whereas in places where the Rosary was said faithfully I found the people were persevering in the grace of God and were ad vancing each day in virtue.
Forlietli Rose Admirable Effects B l e s s e d A l a n d e l a R o c h e , Father Jean Dumont, Father
Thomas, the chronicles of Saint Dominic and other writers who have seen these things with their own eyes speak of the marvelous conversions that are brought about by the Holy Rosary. Great sinners—both men and women—have been con verted after twenty, thirty or even forty years of sin and un speakable vice, because they persevered in saying the Holy Rosary. And these have been people who, beforehand, had been deaf to all pleading! I shall not tell you about those wonderful conversions here because I do not want to make this book too long. And I am not even going to refer to those which I have seen with my very own eyes: there are several reasons why I would rather not talk about them.1 Dear reader, I promise you that if you practise this devotion and help to spread it you will learn more from the Rosary than from any spiritual book. And what is more, you will have the happiness of being rewarded by Our Lady in accordance with the promises that she made to Saint Dominic, to Blessed Alan de la Roche and to all those who practise and encourage this devotion which is so dear to her. For the Holy Rosary teaches people about the virtues of Jesus and Mary, and leads them to mental prayer and to imitate Our Lord and Savior Jesus ChrisL It teaches them to approach the Sacraments often, to genuinely strive after Christian virtues and to do all kinds of good works, as well as interesting them in the many wonder ful indulgences which can be gained through the Rosary. ‘ This is an example of Saint Louis’ humility! It is more than probable that he himself had extraordinary favors and most likely witnessed mir acles—but these he seems reluctant to discuss. M 3 .
The Secret of the Rosary
People are often quite unaware of how rich the Rosary is in indulgences. This is because many priests, when preaching on the Rosary, hardly ever mention indulgences and give rather a flowery and popular sermon which excites admiration but scarcely teaches anything. Be that as it may I shall say no more than to assure you, in the words of Blessed Alan de la Roche, that the Holy Rosary is the root and the storehouse of countless blessings. For through the Holy Rosary: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Sinners are forgiven; Souls that thirst are refreshed; Those who are fettered have their bonds broken; Those who weep find happiness; Those who are tempted find peace; The poor find help; Religious are reformed; Those who are ignorant are instructed; The living learn to overcome pride; The dead (the Holy Souls) have their pains eased by suffrages.
One day Our Lady said to Blessed Alan: “I want people who have a devotion to my Rosary to have my Son’s grace and blessing during their lifetime and at their death, and after their death 1 want them to be freed from all slavery so that they will be like kings wearing crowns and with sceptres in their bands and enjoying eternal glory.” Amen. So be i t
HOW TO RECITE IT
Forty-First Rose P u rity of Intention I t is not so much the length of a prayer, but the fervor with which it is said which pleases Almighty God and touches His Heart. One single Hail Mary that is said properly is worth more than one hundred and fifty that are badly said. Most Catholics say the Rosary, the whole fifteen mysteries or five of them any way or, at least a few decades. So why is it then that so few of them give up their sins and go forward in the spiritual life? Surely it must be because they are not saying them as they should. It is a good thing to think over how we should pray if we really want to please God and become more holy. To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin. This we know because all our theology teaches us that good works and prayers are only dead works if they are done in a state of mortal sin. Therefore they can neither be pleasing to God nor help us gain eternal life. This is why Ecclesiastes says: “Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner.” 1 Praise of God and the salutation of the angel and the very Prayer of Jesus Christ are not pleasing to God when they are said by unrepentant sinners. Our Lord said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” a It is as though He was saying: “Those who join My Confraternity and say their Rosary every day (even perhaps the fifteen decades), but without being * EccL 15:9. •M ark 7:6.
The Secret of the Rosary
sorry for their sins offer Me lip service only and their hearts are far from Me." I have just said that to say the Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace “or at least be fully determined to give up mortal sin;" first of all, because, if it were true that God only heard the prayers of those in a state of grace it would follow that people in a state of mortal sin should not pray at alL This is an erroneous teaching which has been condemned by Holy Mother Church, because of course sinners need to pray far more than good people do. Were this horrible doctrine true it would then be useless and futile to tell a sinner to say all, or even part of his Rosary, because it would never help him. Secondly, because if they join one of Our Lady’s confra ternities and recite the Rosary or some other prayer, but with out having the slightest intention of giving up sin, they join the ranks of her false devotees. These presumptuous and im penitent devotees, hiding under her mantle, wearing the scap ular and with rosary in hand, cry out: “Blessed Virgin, good Mother—Hail, Mar y!. . And yet at the same time, by their sins, they are crucifying Our Lord Jesus Christ and tearing His flesh anew. It is a great tragedy, but from the very ranks of Our Lady's most holy Confraternities souls are falling into the fires of hell. We earnestly beg everyone to say the Holy Rosary: the just that they may persevere and grow in God’s grace; the sinners that they may rise from their sins. But God forbid that we should ever encourage a sinner to think that Our Lady will protect him with Her mantle if he continues to love sin, for then it will only turn into a mantle of damnation which will hide his sins from the public eye. The Rosary, which is a cure for all our ills, would then be turned into deadly poison. “A corruption of what is best is worst.” The learned Cardinal Hugues says: “One should really be as pure as an angel to approach the Blessed Virgin and to say the Angelic Salutation.” One day Our Lady appeared to an im moral man who used to always say his Rosary every day. She showed him a bowl of beautiful fruit, but the bowl itself was covered with filth. The man was horrified to see this, and Our Lady said: "This is the way you are honoring mel You are giving me beautiful roses in a filthy bowL Do you think I can accept presents of this kind?”
Forty-Second Rose With Attention I n order to pray well, it is not enough to give expression to our petitions by means of that most excellent of all prayers, the Rosary, but we must also pray with real concentration for God listens more to the voice of the heart than that of the mouth. To be guilty of wilful distractions during prayer would show a great lack of respect and reverence; it would make our Rosaries fruitless and would make us guilty of sin. How can we expect God to listen to us if we ourselves do not pay attention to what we are saying? How can we expect Him to be pleased if, while in the presence of His tremendous Majesty, we give in to distractions just as children run after butterflies? People who do this forfeit Almighty God’s bless ings which are then changed into curses because they have been praying disrespectfully. "Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord deceitfully.”1 Of course, you cannot possibly say your Rosary without having a few involuntary distractions and it is hard to say even one Hail Mary without your imagination troubling you a little (for our imagination is, alas, never still). The one thing you can do, however, is to say your Rosary without giving in to distractions deliberately and you can take all sorts of pre cautions to lessen involuntary distractions and to control your imagination. With this in mind put yourself in the presence of God and imagine that Almighty God and His Blessed Mother are watch ing you and that your guardian Angel is standing at your right hand, taking your Hail Marys, if they are well said, and using them like roses to make crowns for Jesus and Mary. But re member that at your left hand lurks the devil ready to pounce upon every Hail Mary that comes his way and to write it down in his deadly note-book. And be sure that he will snatch every single one of your Hail Marys that you have not said attentive ly, devoutly and with reverence. Above all, do not forget to offer up each decade in honor of one of the mysteries and while you are saying it try to form 1Jeremias 28:10.
The Secret of the Rosary
a picture in your mind of Jesus and Mary in conection with this mystery. The life of Blessed Hermann (of the Premonstratensian Fathers) tells us that at one time when he used to say the Rosary attentively and devoutly while meditating upon the mysteries Our Lady used to appear to him resplendent in breathtaking majesty and beauty. But as time went on his fervor cooled and he fell into the way of saying his Rosary hurriedly and without giving it his full attention. Then one day Our Lady appeared to him again—only this time she was far from beautiful and her face was furrowed and drawn with sadness. Blessed Hermann was appalled at the change in her, and then Our Lady explained: "This is how I look to you, Hermann, because in your soul this is bow you are treating me; as a woman to be despised and of no importance. Why do you no longer greet me with respect and attention meditating on my mysteries and praising my privileges.”
Forty-Third Rose Fighting Distractions W hen the R osary is well said it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and it is more meritorious for the soul than any other prayer. But it is also the hardest prayer to say well and to per severe in, owing especially to the distractions which almost inevitably attend the constant repetition of the same words. When we say the Little Office of Our Lady, or the Seven Penitential Psalms, or any prayers other than the Rosary, the variety of words and expressions keeps us alert, prevents our imagination from wandering, and so makes it easier for us to say them well. On the contrary, because of the constant repe tition of the same Our Father and Hail Mary in the same unvarying form, it is difficult, while saying the Rosary, not to become wearied and inclined to sleep or to turn to other prayers that are more refreshing and less tedious. This goes to show that one needs much greater devotion to persevere in saying the Holy Rosary than in saying any other prayer, even the Psalms of David. Our imagination, which is hardly still a minute, makes our task harder and then of course there is the devil who never
tires of trying to distract us and keep us from praying. To what ends does not the evil one go against us while we are engaged in saying our Rosary against him. Being human, we easily become tired and slipshod—but the devil makes these difficulties worse when we are saying the Rosary. Before we even begin he makes us feel bored, dis tracted or exhausted—and when we have started praying he oppresses us from all sides. And when, after much difficulty and many distractions, we have finished, he whispers to us: “What you have just said is worthless. It’s useless for you to say the Rosary. You had better get on with other things. It’s only a waste of time to pray without paying attention to what you’re saying; half an hour’s meditation or some spiritual read ing would be much better. Tomorrow when you’re not feeling so sluggish you’ll pray better; don’t finish your Rosary until tomorrow.” By tricks of this kind the devil gets us to give up the Rosary altogether or else hardly say it at all, and we keep putting it off or else change to some other devotion. Dear Rosary Confraternity members, do not listen to the devil, but be of good heart even if your imagination has been bothering you throughout your Rosary, filling your mind with all kinds of distracting thoughts— as long as you really tried hard to get rid of them as soon as they came. Always re member that the best Rosary is the one with the most merit, and there is more merit in praying when it is hard than when it is easy. Prayer is all the harder when it is (naturally speak ing) distasteful to the soul and is filled with those annoying little ants and flies running about in your imagination, against your will, and scarcely allowing you the time to enjoy a little peace and appreciate the beauty of what you are saying. Even if you have to fight distractions all through your whole Rosary be sure to fight well, arms in hand: that is to say, do not stop saying your Rosary even if it is hard to say and you have absolutely no sensible devotion. It is a terrible battle, 1 know, but one that is profitable to the faithful soul. If you put down your arms, that is, if you give up the Rosary, you will be admitting defeat and then, having won, the devil will leave you alone. But at the Day of Judgment he will taunt you because of your faithlessness and lack of courage. "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater.”1 He who fights even the smallest distractions faithfully when he ’ Luke 16:10.
The Secret of the Rosary
says even the very smallest prayer he will also be faithful in great things. We can be absolutely certain of this because the Holy Spirit has told us so. So all of you, servants and handmaids of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have made up your minds to say the Rosary every day, be of good heart. Do not let the flies (it is thus that I call the distractions that make war on you during prayer) make you cowardly abandon the com pany of Jesus and Mary, in whose holy presence you always are when saying the Rosary. In what follows I shall give you sug gestions for getting rid of distractions.
Forty-Fourth Rose A Good Method W hen you have asked the Holy Spirit to help you pray well,
put yourself for a moment in the presence of God and offer up the decades in the way that I am going to show you later.1 Before beginning a decade, pause for a moment or two— depending upon how much time you have—and contemplate the mystery that you are about to honor in that decade. Always be sure to ask of Almighty God, by this mystery and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, one of the virtues that shines forth most in this mystery or one of which you stand in particular need. Take great care to avoid the two pitfalls that most people fall into during the Rosary. The first is the danger of not ask ing for any graces at all, so that if some people were asked their Rosary intention they would not know what to say. So, whenever you say your Rosary, be sure to ask for some special grace. Ask God’s help in cultivating one of the great Christian virtues or in overcoming one of your sins. The second big fault a lot of people make when saying the Holy Rosary is to have no intention other than that of getting it over as quickly as possible! This is because so many of us look upon the Rosary as a burden which is always heavier when we have not said it—especially if it fa weighing on our conscience because we have promised to say it regularly or have been told to say it as a penance more or less against our will. 1See page 170 ss.
It is really pathetic to see how most people say the Holy Rosary—they say it astonishingly fast and mumble so that the words are not property pronounced at all. We could not pos sibly expect anyone, even the most unimportant person, to think that a slipshod address of this kind was a compliment and yet we expect Jesus and Mary to be pleased with it! Small wonder then that the most sacred prayers of our holy religion seem to bear no fruit, and that, after saying thousands of Rosaries, we are still no better than we were before! Dear Confraternity members, I beg of you to temper the speed which comes all too easily to you and pause briefly several times as you say the Our Father and Hail Mary. I have placed a cross at each pause, as you will see: Our Father Who art in Heaven,t hallowed be Thy name,t Thy kingdom come.t Thy will be donet on earth as it is in Heaven, t Give us this day! our daily breadt and forgive us our trespasses! as we forgive those who trespass against us,t and lead us not into temptation! but deliver us from evil. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace,! the Lord is with Thee,! blessed art thou among women! and blessed is the Fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.! Holy Mary, Mother of God,! pray for us sinners, now! and at the hour of our death. Amen. At first, you may find it difficult to make these pauses be cause of your bad habit of saying prayers in a hurry; but a decade that you say recollectedly in this way will be worth more than thousands of Rosaries said all in a rush—without any pauses or reflexion. Blessed Alan de la Roche and other writers (including Saint Robert Bellarmine) tell the story of how a good confessor ad vised three of his penitents, who happened to be sisters, to gay the Rosary every day without fail for a whole year. This was so that they might make beautiful robes of glory for Our Lady out of their Rosaries. This was a secret that the priest had received from Heaven. So the three sisters said the Rosary faithfully for a year and on the Feast of the Purification the Blessed Virgin appeared to them at night when they had retired. Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes were with her and she was wearing beautiful robes that shone and all over them “Hail Mary, full of grace” was blazoned in letters of gold. The Blessed Mother came to the eldest sister and said “I salute you, my daughter, because you have saluted me so often and beautifully. I want to thank you
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for the beautiful robes that you have made me.” The two virgin saints who were with Our Lady thanked her too and then all three of them vanished. An hour later Our Lady and the same two saints appeared to them again, but this time she was wearing green which had no gold lettering and did not gleam. She went up to the second sister and thanked her for the robes she had made Her by say ing her Rosary. Since this sister had seen Our Lady appear to the eldest much more magnificently dressed she asked Her the reason for the change. The Blessed Mother answered: "Your sister made Me more beautiful clothes because she has been saying her Rosary better than you.” About an hour after this she appeared to the youngest of the sisters wearing tattered and dirty rags. “My daughter” she said “I want to thank you for these clothes that you have made Me. The young girl was covered with shame and she called out: "Oh, my Queen, how could I have dressed you so badly! I beg you to forgive me. Please grant me a little more time to make you beautiful robes by saying my Rosary bet ter." Our Lady and the two saints vanished, leaving the girl heartbroken. She told her confessor everything that had hap pened and he urged her to say her Rosary for another year and to say it more devoutly than ever. A t the end of this second year on the veTy same day of the Purification, Our Lady, clothed in a magnificent robe and attended by Saint Catherine and Saint Agnes, wearing crowns, appeared to them again in the evening. She said to them: "My daughters, I have come to tell you that you have earned heaven at last—and you will all have the great joy of going there tomorrow.” The three of them cried: “Our hearts are all ready, dearest Queen; our hearts are all ready." Then the vision faded. That same night they became ill and so sent for their confessor who brought them the Last Sacraments and they thanked him for the holy practice that he had taught them. After Compline Our Lady appeared with a multitude of virgins and had the three sisters clothed in white gowns. While angels were singing "Come, spouses of Jesus Christ, receive the crowns which have been prepared for you for all eternity,” they departed from this life. Some very deep truths can be learned from this story: 1. How important it is to have a good director who will counsel holy practices, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary;
2. How important it is to say the Rosary attentively and de voutly; 3. How kind and merciful the Blessed Mother is to those who are sorry for the past and are firmly resolved to do better; 4. And finally, how generous she is in rewarding us in life, death and eternity, for the little services that we render Her faithfully.
Forty-Fifth Rose W ith Reverence I would like to add that the Rosary ought to be said reverently —that is to say it ought to be said, as far as possible, kneeling, with the hands joined and clasping the Rosary. However, if people are ill they can of course say it in bed or if they are travelling it can be said on foot—and if infirmity prevents people kneeling it can be said seated or standing. The Rosary can even be said at work, if people’s daily duties keep them at their jobs, because the work of one’s hands is not by any means always incompatible with vocal prayer. Of course, since the soul has its limitations and can only do so much, when we are concentrating on manual work we cannot give our undivided attention to things of the spirit, such as prayer. But when we cannot do otherwise this kind of prayer is not without value in Our Lady’s eyes and she re wards our good will more than our external actions. I advise you to divide up your Rosary into three parts and to say each group of mysteries (five decades) at a different time of day. This is much better than saying the whole fifteen decades all at once. If you cannot find the time to say a third part of the Rosary all at one time, say it gradually, a decade here and there. I am sure you can manage this; so that, in spite of your work and all the calls upon your time, you will have said the whole Rosary before going to bed. Saint Francis de Sales sets us a very good example of faith fulness in this respect: once when he was quite exhausted from the visits of the day and remembered, towards midnight, that he had left a few decades of his Rosary unsaid, he would not go to bed until be had finished them on his knees, not
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withstanding all the efforts of his secretary who saw be was tired and begged him to let the rest of his prayers go until the next day. And do let me remind you just once more to copy the faith* fulness, reverence and devotion of the holy friar who is men tioned in the Chronicles of Saint Francis and who always said his Rosary very devoutly and reverently before dinner. (I have told this story earlier in this book.)1 1 Cf. SEVENTH ROSE—Crown of Roses.
Forty-Sixth Rose Croup Recitation T here are several ways of saying the Holy Rosary, but that which gives Almighty God the greatest glory, does the most for our souls and which the devil fears more than any other, is that of saying or chanting the Rosary publicly in two groups. Almighty God is very pleased to have people gathered to gether in prayer; the angels and the blessed unite to praise Him unceasingly. The just on earth in several communities join in communal prayer night and day. Our Blessed Lord expressly recommended common prayer to His apostles and disciples and promised that whenever two or three were gathered to gether in His name He would be there in the midst of them.1 What a wonderful thing to have Jesus Christ in our midstl And the only thing we have to do to get Him to come is to say the Rosary in a group.1 This is why the early Christians often gathered together to pray in spite of all the Roman Em peror’s persecutions and the fact that assemblies were for bidden. They preferred to risk the danger of death rather th an to miss their gatherings, at which Our Lord was present. This way of praying is of the greatest benefit to our souls because: 1. Normally our minds are far more alert during public prayer than they are when we pray alone. 2. When we pray in common, the prayer of each one be longs to us all and these make but one great prayer to gether, so that if one person is not praying well, someone *Cf. M att 18:20. •St. Louis' message fits in beautifully with that of the great “Family Rosary Crusade" of today. M 3 .
else in the same gathering who prays better may make up for his deficiency. In this way those who are strong up hold the weak, those who are fervent inspire the luke warm, the rich enrich the poor, the bad are counted as good. How can a measure of cockle be sold? This can be done very easily by mixing it up with four or five barrels of good wheat. 3. Somebody who says his Rosary alone only gains the merit of one Rosary, but if he says it together with thirty other people he gains the merit of thirty Rosaries. This is the law of public prayer. How profitable, how ad vantageous this is! 4. Urban VIII, who was very pleased to see how devotion to the Holy Rosary had spread in Rome and how it was being said in two groups or choirs, particularly at the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, attached one hundred days’ extra indulgence, toties quoties, whenever the Rosary was said in two choirs. This was set out in his brief “Ad perpetuam rei memoriam,” written in the year 1626. So every time you say the Rosary in two groups you gain one hundred days' extra indulgence. 5. Public prayer is far more powerful than private prayer to appease the anger of God and call down His Mercy and Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has always advocated public prayer in times of public tragedy and suffering. In his bull on the Rosary, Pope Gregory XIII says very clearly that we must believe (on pious faith) that the public prayers and processions of members of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary were largely responsible for the great victory over the Turkish navy at Lepanto which Almighty God granted to Christians on the first Sunday of October, 1571. When King Louis the Just, of blessed memory, was be sieging La Rochelle, where the revolutionary heretics had their stronghold, he wrote to his mother to beg her to have public prayers offered for a victorious outcome. The Queen-Mother decided to have the Rosary recited publicly in Paris in the Dominican Church of Faubourg Saint Honore and this was done by the Archbishop of Paris. It was begun on May 20th, 1628. Both the Queen-Mother and the reigning Queen attended the recitation of the Rosary together with the Duke of Orleans, Cardinal de La Rochefoucault and Cardinal de Berulle, as
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well as other prelates. The court turned out in full force as well as a large proportion of the general populace. The Archbishop used to read the meditations on the mysteries aloud and then begin the Our Fathers and Hail Marys of each decade while the congregation made up of religious and lay folk answered him. At the end of the Rosary a statue of the Blessed Mother was solemnly carried in procession while the Litany of Our Lady was sung. TTiis devotion was kept up with admirable fervor every Saturday and resulted in a manifest blessing from Heaven: for on All Saints’ Day of the same year the king defeated the English at the island of Re and made his triumphant entry into La Rochelle. This goes to show the great power of public prayer. Finally, when people say the Rosary together it is far more formidable to the devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking him. He can often overcome the prayer of an individual, but if this prayer is joined to that of other Christians, the devil has much more trouble in getting the best of i t It is very easy to break a single stick, but if you join it to others to make a bundle it cannot be broken. “In union there is strength.” Soldiers join together in an army to overcome their enemies; wicked people often get together for parties of debauchery and dancing, and evil spirits join forces in order to make us lose our souls. So why, then, should not Christians join forces to have Jesus Christ present with them when they pray, to appease Almighty God’s anger, to draw down His grace and mercy upon us, and to frustrate and overcome the devil and his angels more forcefully? Dear Rosary Confraternity members, whether you live in town or in the country, near your parish Church or near a chapel, go there at least every evening (with the parish priest’s approval, of course), together with all those who want to recite the Rosary in two choirs. If a Church or a chapel is not avail able say the Rosary together in your own or a neighbor’s house. This is a holy practice which Almighty God, in His mercy, has set up in places where I have preached missions— to safeguard and increase the good brought about by these missions and to prevent further sin. Before the Holy Rosary took root in these small towns and villages, dances and parties of debauchery went on all the time; dissoluteness, wantonness, blasphemy, quarrels and feuds flourished. One heard nothing but evil songs and doublemeaning talk. But now nothing is heard but hymns and the
chant of the Our Father and Hail Mary. The only gatherings to be seen are those of twenty, thirty or a hundred or more people who, at a fixed hour, sing Almighty God's praises just as religious do. There are even places where the Rosary is recited in common—five mysteries at a time—at three spe cial times every day. What a blessing from Heaven this is! Just as there are wicked people everywhere, do not expect to find that the place you live in is free of them; there will be some who will be certain to avoid coming to Church for the Rosary and they may even make fun of it and will probably do everything in their power to stop you from going, exerting their influence by bad example and bad language. But do not give up. As these wretched souls will have to be separated from God and heaven for all eternity because their place will be in hell, already here on earth they have to be separated from the company of Christ Our Lord and His servants and hand-maids.
Forty-Seventli Rose Proper Dispositions P redestinate souls, you who are of God, cut yourselves
adrift from those who are damning themselves by their im pious lives, laziness and lack of devotion—and, without delay, recite often your Rosary, with faith, with humility, with con fidence and with perseverance. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, told us to follow His example and to pray always—because of our endless need of prayer, the darkness of our minds, our ignorance and weakness and be cause of the strength and number of our enemies. Anyone who really gives heed to this Our Master’s commandment will surely not be satisfied with saying the Rosary once a year (as the Perpetual Members do) or once a week (like the Ordinary Members) but will say it every day (as a member of the Daily Rosary) and will never fail in this—even though the only ob ligation he has is that of saving his own soul. 1. “We ought always to pray and not to faint."1 These are the eternal words of our Blessed Lord Himself. And we must believe His words and abide by them if we do not want to be ‘ Luke 18:1.
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damned. You can understand them in any way you like, as long as you do not interpret them as the world does and only observe them in a worldly way. Our Lord gave us the true explanation of His words—by means of the example He left us. “I have given you an example that as I have done to you, so you do also."® And “He passed the whole night in the prayer of God.”8 As though His days were not long enough, He used to spend the night in prayer. Over and over again He said to His Apostles: "Watch ye and pray”;'** the flesh is weak, temptation is everywhere and always around you. If you do not keep up your prayers, you shall fall . . . And because some of them evidently thought that these words of Our Lord constituted a counsel only they completely missed their point. This is why they fell into temptation and sin, even though they were in the company of Jesus Christ Dear Rosary Confraternity members, if you want to lead a fashionable life and belong to the world—by this I mean if you do not mind falling into mortal sin from time to time and then going to Confession, and if you wish to avoid conspicuous sins which the world considers vile and yet at the same time commit “respectable sins”—then, of course, there is no need for you to say so many prayers and Rosaries. You only need to do very little to be “respectable” : a tiny prayer at night and morning, an occasional Rosary which may be given to you for your penance, a few decades of Hail Marys said on your Rosary (but haphazardly and without concentration) when it suits your fancy to say them—this is quite enough. If you did less, you might be branded as a freethinker or a profligate; if you did more, you would be eccentric and a fanatic. But if you want to lead a true Christian life and genuinely want to save your soul and walk in the saints’ footsteps and never, never, fall into mortal sin— if you wish to break Satan’s traps and divert his flaming darts, you must always pray as Our Lord taught and commanded you to do. If you really have this wish at heart, then you must at least say your Rosary or the equivalent, every day. I have said “at least” because probably all that you will accomplish through your Rosary will be to avoid mortal sin and to overcome temptation. This is because you are exposed to the strong current of the world’s wickedness by which many a strong soul is swept away; you are in the midst of the thick, clinging dark •John 13:15. •L uke 6:12.
* Man. 26:41.
ness which often blinds even the most enlightened souls; you are surrounded by evil spirits who being more experienced than ever and knowing that their time it short are more cun ning and more effective in tempting you. It will indeed be a marvel of grace wrought by the Most Holy Rosary if you manage to keep out of the clutches of the world, the devil and the flesh and avoid mortal sin and gain heaven I If you do not want to believe me, at least learn from your own experience. I should like to ask you if, when you were in the habit of saying no more prayers than people usually say in the world and saying them the way they usually say them, you were able to avoid serious faults and sins that were grievous but which seemed nothing much to you in your blindness. Now at last you must wake up, and if you want to live and die without sin, at least mortal sin, pray unceasingly; say your Rosary every day as members always used to do in the early days of the Confraternity. When our Blessed Lady gave the Holy Rosary to Saint Dominic she ordered him to say it every day and to get others to say it daily. Saint Dominic never let anyone join the Con fraternity unless he were fully determined to say it every day. If today people are allowed to be Ordinary Members by saying the Rosary merely once a week, it is because fervor has dwindled, and charity has grown cold. You get what you can out of one who is poor in prayer. “It was not thus in the begin ning." Three things must be stressed here; the first is that if you want to join the Confraternity of the Daily Rosary and share in the prayers and merits of its members, it is not enough to be enrolled in the Ordinary Rosary or just to make a resolution to say it every day; as well as doing this you must give your name to those who have the power to enroll you in i t It is also a very good thing to go to Confession and Holy Communion especially for this intention. The reason for this is that the Ordinary Rosary Membership does not include that of the Daily Rosary, but this latter does include the former. The second point I want to make is that, absolutely speaking, it is not even a venial sin to fail to say the Rosary every day, or once a week, or even once a year. The third point is that whenever illness, or work that you have performed out of obedience to a lawful superior or some real necessity, or even involuntary forgetfulness has prevented you from saying your Rosary, you do not forfeit your share in the merits and your participation in the Rosaries of the other
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Confraternity members. So, absolutely speaking, you are under no obligation to say two Rosaries the next day to make up for the one you missed, as I understand it, through no fault of your own. If, however, when you are ill, your sickness is such that you are still able to say part of your Rosary, you must say that p art “Blessed are (those) who stand before thee always."8 “Happy they who dwell in your housel Continually they praise you.”® “Oh, dear Lord Jesus, blessed are the brothers and sisters of the Daily Rosary Confraternity who are in Thy presence every day—in Thy little home at Nazareth, at the foot of Thy Cross on Calvary, and around Thy throne in heaven, so that they may meditate and contemplate Thy Joyous, Sor rowful and Glorious Mysteries. How happy they are on earth because of the wonderful graces that Thou dost vouchsafe to them, and how blessed they shall be in heaven where they will praise Thee in a very special way—for ever and ever!” 2. The Rosary should be said with faith—for our Blessed Lord said “Believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you.”7 If you believe that you will receive what you ask from the hands of Almighty God, He will grant your petitions. He will say to you: "As thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.”8 “If any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God— but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.’’® If anyone needs wis dom, let him ask God with faith, and without hesitating, and through his Rosary—and what he asks shall be given him. 3. Thirdly, we must pray with humility, like the publican; he was kneeling on the ground—on both knees—not on one knee as proud and worldly people do, or with one knee on the bench in front of him. He was at the back of the Church and not in the sanctuary as the Pharisee was; his eyes were cast down, as he dared not look up to heaven; he did not hold his head up proudly and look about him like the Pharisee. He beat his breast, confessing his sins and asking forgiveness: “Be merciful to me a sinner”10 and he was not in the least like the Pharisee who boasted of his good works and who despised others in his prayers. Do not imitate the pride of the Pharisee whose prayer only hardened his heart and increased his guilt; •3 Kings 10:8. •Ps. 83:5. 'M ark 11:24. ■Matt. 8:13. •James 1:5,6. “ Luke 18:13.
Imitate rather the humility of the Publican whose prayer ob tained for him the remission of his sins. You should be very careful not to do anything out of the ordinary nor to ask nor even wish for knowledge of extra ordinary things, visions, revelations or other miraculous graces which Almighty God has occasionally given to a few of the saints while they were reciting the Rosary. “Faith alone suf fices": faith alone is quite enough for us now that the Holy Gospels and all the devotions and pious practices are firmly established. Even if you suffer from dryness of soul, boredom and in terior discouragement, never give up even the least little bit of your Rosary— for this would be a sure sign of pride and faith lessness. On the contrary, like a real champion of Jesus and Mary, you should say your Our Fathers and Hail Marys quite drily if you have to, without seeing, hearing or feeling any consolation whatsoever, and concentrating as best you can on the mysteries. You ought not to look for candy or jam to eat with your daily bread, as children do—but you should even say your Rosary more slowly sometimes when you particularly find it hard to say. Do this to imitate Our Lord more perfectly in His agony in the garden: “Being in an agony, he prayed the longer,"11 so that what was said of Our Lord (when He was in His agony of prayer) may be said of you too: He prayed even longer. 4. Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray. The Eternal Father yearns for nothing so much as to share the lifegiving waters of His grace and mercy with us. He is entreating us: “All you that thirst, come to the waters . . .’,La This means “Come and drink of My spring through prayer,” and when we do not pray to Him He sorrowfully says that we are for saking Him: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water.”1* We make Our Lord happy when we ask Him for graces and if we do not ask. He makes a loving complaint: “Hitherto you have not asked anything . . . ask and you shall receive . . . seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you."14 “ “ “ “
Luke 22:43. Isaiai 54:1. Jeremies 2:13. John 16:24 and Matt. 7:7.
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Furthermore, to give us more confidence in praying to Him, He has bound Himself by a promise: that His Eternal Father would grant us everything that we ask in His name.
Forty-Eighth Rose Perseverance 5. As a fifth point I must add also perseverance in prayer. Only he will receive, will find and will enter who perseveres in asking, seeking and knocking. It is not enough to ask Almighty God for certain graces for a month, a year, ten or even twenty years; we must never tire of asking. We must keep on asking until the very moment of death, and even in this prayer which shows our trust in God, we must join the thought of death to that of perseverance and say: “Although he should kill me, I will trust in him”1 and will trust Him to give me all I need. Prominent and rich people of the world show their gen erosity by foreseeing people’s wants and ministering to them, even before they are asked for anything. On the other hand, God’s munificence is shown in His making us seek and ask for, over a long period of time, the grace which He wishes to give us and quite often the more precious the grace, the longer He takes to grant it. There are three reasons why He does this: 1. To thus increase this grace still more: 2. To make the recipient more deeply appreciate it; 3. To make the soul who receives it very careful indeed not to lose it—for people do not appreciate things that they can get quickly and with very little trouble. So, dear members of the Rosary Confraternity, persevere in asking Almighty God for all your needs, both spiritual and corporal, through the Most Holy Rosary. Most of all you should ask for divine Wisdom which is an infinite Treasure: “(Wisdom) is an infinite treasure”* and there can be no pos sible doubt that you will receive it sooner or later—as long as you do not stop asking for it and do not lose courage in the middle of your journey. “Thou hast yet a great way to go.”8 This means that you have a long way to go, there will be bad times to weather, many difficulties to overcome and many ‘ Job 13:15. •Wisdom 7:14. ■3 Kings 19:7.
enemies to conquer before you will have stored up enough treasures of eternity, enough Our Fathers and Hail Marys with which to buy your way to heaven and earn the beautiful crown which is waiting for each faithful Confraternity member. "(Let) no man take thy crown” :* take care that your crown is not stolen by somebody who has been more faithful than you in saying the Holy Rosary. It is “thy crown”— Almighty God has chosen it for you and you have already won it halfway by means of the Rosaries that you have said well. Unfortunately someone else may get ahead of you in the race—someone who has worked harder and who has been more faithful might possibly win the crown that ought to be yours, paying for it by his Rosaries and good works. All this could really happen if you stand still on the beautiful path where you have been running so well: "You did tun well.”8 “Who hath hindered you?”8 who is it who will have prevented you from having the Rosary crown? None other than the enemies of the Holy Rosary who are so numerous. Do believe me, only “the violent bear it away.”7 These crowns are not for timid souls who are afraid of the world’s taunts and threats, neither arc they for the lazy and indolent who only say their Rosary carelessly, or hastily, just for the sake of getting it over with. The same applies to people who say it intermittently, as the spirit moves them. These crowns are not for cowards who lose heart and down their arms as soon as they see hell let loose against the Holy Rosary. Dear Confraternity members: if you want to serve Jesus and Mary by saying the Rosary every day, you must be prepared for temptation: “When thou comest to the service of God . . . prepare thy soul for temptation.”8 Heretics and licentious folk, “respectable” people of the world, persons of only surface piety as well as false prophets, hand in glove with your fallen nature and all hell itself, will wage formid able battles against you in an endeavor to get you to give up this holy practice. To help you to be better armed against their onslaught I am going to tell you some of the things these people are always saying and thinking. This is to put you on your guard against them all, but not so much in the case of heretics and out-and-out licentious people, but particularly those who are •Apoc. 3:11. •Galat. 5:7. •Id . 5:7. • M a t t 11:12.
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“respectable” in the eyes of the world, and those who are devout (strange as it may seem) but have no use for the Holy Rosary. “What is it that this word sower would say?”9 "Come, let us oppress him, for he is against us.” That is to say: “What is he doing saying so many Rosaries? What is it he is always mumbling? Such laziness! And what a waste of time to keep sliding those old beads along—he would do much better to work and not be bothered with this foolishness. I know what I’m talking about, . . . “All you have to do, I suppose, is to say your Rosary, and a fortune will fall from heaven into your lap! The Rosary gives you everything you need without your lifting a finger! But hasn’t it been said: “God helps those who help them selves?” There’s no need then of getting mixed up with so many prayers. “A brief prayer is heard in heaven,” one Our Father and Hail Mary will do provided they are well said. “God has never told us to say the Rosary— of course it’s all right, it’s not a bad devotion when you’ve got the time. But don’t think for one minute that people who say the Rosary are any more sure of heaven than we are. Just look at the saints who never said hi Far too many people want to make everybody see through their own eyes: folk who carry everything to extremes, scrupulous people who see sin almost everywhere, making sweeping statements and saying that all those who don’t say the Rosary will go to hell. “Oh yes, the Rosary is all right for old women who can’t read. But surely the Little Office of Our Lady is much more worthwhile than the Rosary? Or the Seven Penitential Psalms? And how could anything be more beautiful than the Psalms which are inspired by the Holy Ghost? You say you have agreed to say the Rosary every day; this is nothing but a fire of straw—you know very well it won’t last! Wouldn’t it be better to undertake less and to be more faithful about it? “Come on, my friend, take my word for it, say your morn ing and night prayers, work hard during the day and offer it up—God doesn’t ask any more of you than this. Of course you’ve got your living to earn; if you were a man of leisure I shouldn’t say anything—you could say as many Rosaries as you like then. But as for now, say your Rosary on Sun days and Holy Days when you have lots of time, if you really must say i t •A cts 17:18.
"But really and truly—what are you doing with an enor mous pair of beads? You look like an old woman instead of a manl I've seen a little Rosary of only one decade—it’s just as good as one of fifteen decades. What on earth are you wearing it on your belt for, fanatic that you are? Why don’t you go the whole way and wear it around your neck like the Spaniards? They carry an enormous Rosary in one hand— and a dagger in the other. “For goodness sake drop those external devotions; real devotion is in the heart . . . etc. etc. . . Similarly, not a few clever people and learned scholars may occasionally try to dissuade you from saying the Rosary (but they are, of course, proud and self willed). They would rather encourage you to say the Seven Penitential Psalms or some other prayers. If a good confessor has given you a Rosary for your penance and has told you to say it every day for a fortnight or a month, all you have to do to get your penance changed to prayers, fasts, Masses or alms, is to go to con fession to one of these others. If you consult certain people in the world who lead lives of prayer, but who have never tried the Rosary, they will not only not encourage it but will turn people away from it to get them to learn contemplation—just as though the Holy Rosary and contemplation were incompatible, just as if all the saints who have been devoted to the Rosary had not enjoyed the heights of sublime contemplation. Your nearest enemies will attack you all the more cruelly because you are so close to them. I am speaking of the pow ers of your soul and your bodily senses—these are distractions of the mind, distress and uncertainty of the will, dryness of the heart, exhaustion and illnesses of the body—all these will combine with the devil to say to you: “Stop saying your Rosary; that is what is giving you such a headachel Give it up; there is no obligation under pain of sin. If you must say it, say only part of it; the difficulties that you are having over it are a sign that Almighty God does not want you to say it. You can finish it tomorrow when you are more in the mood, etc. . . . etc. . . .” Finally, my dear Brother, the Daily Rosary has so many enemies that I look upon the grace of persevering in it until death as one of the greatest favors Almighty God can give us. Persevere in it and if you are faithful you will eventually
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have the wonderful crown which is waiting for you in heaven: “Be thou faithful until death: and 1 will give thee the crown of life.”10
Forty-Ninth Rose Indulgences T his is the right time to say a little about indulgences which
have been granted to Rosary Confraternity members so that you may gain as many as possible. Briefly, an indulgence is a remission or relaxation of tem poral punishment due to actual sins, by the application of the superabundant satisfactions of Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints—which are contained in the Treasury of the Church. A Plenary Indulgence is a remission of the whole punish ment due to sin; a partial indulgence of, for instance, one hundred or one thousand years can be explained as the re mission of as much punishment as could have been expiated during one hundred or one thousand years, if one had been given a corresponding number of the penances prescribed by the Church’s ancient Canons. Now these Canons exacted seven and sometimes ten or fif teen years' penance for one single mortal sin, so that a person who was guilty of twenty mortal sins would probably have had to perform a seven year penance at least twenty times, and so on. Rosary Confraternity members who want to gain the in dulgences must: 1. be truly repentant and must go to confession and Holy Communion, as the Bull of Indulgences teaches; 2. they must be entirely free from affection for venial sin, because if affection for sin is left the guilt is left too, and since the guilt is there, the punishment cannot be lifted; 3. they must say the prayers and carry out the good works designated by the BulL If, in accordance with what the Popes have said, one can gain a partial indulgence (for instance, of one hundred years) without gaining a Ple“ Apoc. 2:10.
nary Indulgence, it is not always necessary to go confession and Holy Communion in order to gain Such partial indulgences are many of those attached the Rosary (either of five or of fifteen decades) processions, blessed Rosaries, etc.
to it to to
Be sure not to neglect these indulgences. Flammin and a great number of other writers tell the story of a young girl of noble station by the name of Alexandre, who had been miraculously converted and enrolled by Saint Dominic in the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary. After her death she appeared to him and said that she had been condemned to seven hundred years of Purgatory, because of her own sins and those that she had made others commit by her worldly ways. So she implored him to ease her pains by his prayers and to ask the Confraternity members to pray for the same end. Saint Dominic did as she had asked. Two weeks later she appeared to him, more radiant than the sun, having been quickly delivered from Purgatory through the prayers that the Confraternity members had said for her. She also told Saint Dominic that the Holy Souls in purgatory had given her a message to beg him to go on preaching the Holy Rosary and to beg their relations to offer their Rosaries for them, and that they would reward them abundantly when they came into their glory.
Fiftieth Rose Various Methods So as to make the recitation of the Holy Rosary easier for you, here are several methods which will help you to say it in a good and holy way, together with meditation on the Joy ful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of Jesus and Mary. Choose whichever method pleases you and helps you the most: you can make one up yourself, if you like, as several holy people have done before now.
METHODS OF SAYING THE MOST HOLY ROSARY SO AS TO DRAW UPON OUR SOULS THE GRACE OF THE MYSTERIES OF THE LIFE, PASSION AND GLORY OF JESUS AND MARY
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First Method' F irst, say the “Come, Holy Ghost" . . . and then make your O ffering of the Rosary:
I unite myself with all the saints in Heaven, and with all the just on earth; I unite myself with Thee, my Jesus, in order to praise Thy Holy Mother worthily and to praise Thee in her and by her. I renounce all the distractions that may come to me while I am saying this Rosary. Oh, Blessed Virgin Mary, we offer thee this Creed in order to honor the faith that thou didst have upon earth and to ask thee to have us share in the same faith. Oh Lord, we offer Thee this Our Father so as to adore Thee in Thy oneness and to recognize Thee as the first cause and the last end of all things. Most Holy Trinity, we offer Thee these three Hail Marys so as to thank Thee for all the graces which Thou hast given to Mary and those which Thou hast given us through her intercession. One Our Father, Three Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father. . . 'This method varies slightly from that which is now well known. Saint Louis modified it during his lifetime, but it is given here because it is to be found in the original manuscript of this book. The following prayer, revealed to the three children of Fatima by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, is now added following the G lory b e to the fa th e r at the end of each decade: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.
How to Offer Each Decade The Joyful Mysteries F irst D ecade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this first decade in honor of Thy Incarnation and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy most Holy Mother, a profound humility. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the mystery of the Incarnation, come down into my soul and make it truly humble. Second Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this second decade in honor of the Visitation of Thy Holy Mother to her cousin Saint Elizabeth, and we ask of Thee through this mystery and through Mary’s intercession, a perfect charity towards our neighbor. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the mystery of the Visitation come down into my soul and make it really charitable. Third decade: We offer Thee, O Child Jesus, this third decade in honor of Thy Blessed Nativity, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, detachment from things of this world, love of poverty and love of the poor. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the mystery of the Nativity come down into my soul and make me truly poor in spirit Fourth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this fourth decade in honor of Thy Presentation in the temple by the hands of Mary, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, the gift of wisdom and purity of heart and body. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . ,
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Grace of the mystery of the Purification, come down into my soul and make it really wise and really pure. Fifth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this fifth decade in honor of Thy Finding in the Temple among the learned men by Our Lady, after she had lost Thee, and we ask Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, to convert us and help us amend our lives, and also to convert all sinners, heretics, schismatics and idolaters. Father . . . Grace of the mystery of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, come down into my soul and truly convert me.
Tlie Sorrowful Mysteries Sixth D ecade: Wc offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this sixth
decade in honor of Thy mortal Agony in the Garden of Olives and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, perfect sorrow for our sins and the virtue of perfect obedience to Thy Holy WilL One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of Our Lord’s Agony, come down into my soul and make me truly contrite and perfectly obedient to Thy Will. Seventh Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this seventh decade in honor of Thy Bloody Scourging and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, the grace to mortify our senses per fectly. One Our Father, ten Hall Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of Our Lord’s Scourging, come down into my soul and make me truly mortified. Eighth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this eighth decade in honor of Thy cruel crowning with thorns, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, a great contempt of the world. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the mystery of Our lo rd ’s crowning with Thoms, come down into my soul and make me despise the world. Ninth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this ninth decade in honor of Thy carrying Thy cross and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, to give us great patience in carrying our cross in Thy footsteps every day of our life. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . , 113
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Grace of the mystery of the carrying of the Cross, come down into my soul and make me truly patient. Tenth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this tenth decade in honor of Thy Crucifixion on Mount Calvary, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the inter cession of Thy Blessed Mother, a great horror of sin, a love of the Cross and the grace of a holy death for us and for those who are now in their last agony. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the mystery of the Death and Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, come down into my soul and make me truly holy.
The Glorious Mysteries E leventh D ecade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this eleventh decade in honor of Thy triumphant Resurrection and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, a lively faith. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . , . Grace of the Resurrection come down into my soul and make me really faithful. Twelfth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this twelfth decade in honor of Thy glorious Ascension, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy Blessed Mother, a firm hope and a great longing for Heaven. One Our Father, ten Hall Marys, Glory be to the Father . , . Grace of the mystery of the Ascension of Our Lord, come down into my soul and make me ready for Heaven. Thirteenth Decade: We offer Thee, O Holy Spirit, this thirteenth decade in honor of the mystery of Pentecost, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through the inter cession of Mary, Thy most faithful Spouse, Thy holy wisdom so that we may know, really love and practise Thy truth, and make all others share in i t One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of Pentecost, come down into my soul and make me really wise in the eyes of Almighty God. Fourteenth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this fourteenth decade in honor of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Thy holy and Blessed Mother, body and soul, into Heaven, and we ask of Thee, through these two mysteries and through her intercession, the gift of true devo tion to her to help us live and die holily. 115
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One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . Grace of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary, come down into my soul and make me truly de voted to her. Fifteenth Decade: We offer Thee, O Lord Jesus, this fif teenth and last decade in honor of the glorious crowning of Thy Blessed Mother in Heaven, and we ask of Thee, through this mystery and through Her intercession, the grace of perseverance and increase of virtue until the very moment of death and after that the eternal crown that is prepared for us. We ask the same grace for all the just and for all our benefactors. One Our Father, ten Hail Marys, Glory be to the Father . . . We beseech Thee, dear Lord Jesus, by the fifteen mysteries of Thy life, death and passion, by Thy glory and by the merits of Thy Blessed Mother, to convert sinners and help the dying, to deliver the Holy Souls from purgatory and to give us all Thy grace so that we may live well and die well— and please give us the Light of Thy glory later on so that we may see Thee face to face and love Thee for all eternity. Amen. So be it. G od A lonb
A SHORTER WAX OF COMMEMORATING THE LIFE, DEATH AND GLORY OF JESUS AND MARY IN THE MOST HOLY ROSARY, AND A WAY TO CURB OUR IMAGINATION AND TO LESSEN DISTRACTIONS I n order to do this we must add a word or two to each Hail Mary (depending upon the decade) and this will help remind us which mystery we are commemorating. This word or words should be added after the word “Jesus.” “And blessed is the fruit of Thy Womb”: At At At At At At At At
the the the the the the the the
At At At At At
the the the the the
1st Decade . M 2nd M 3rd M 4th M 5th M 6th U 7th M 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
At the 14th At the 15th
U N M M M
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Jesus incarnate”; “Jesus sanctifying”; “Jesus bom in poverty”; “Jesus sacrificed”; “Jesus, Saint among saints”; “Jesus in His agony”; “Jesus scourged"; “Jesus crowned with thorns”; “Jesus carrying His Cross”; “Jesus crucified”; “Jesus risen from the dead"; “Jesus ascending to heaven”; “Jesus filling Thee with the Holy Spirit”; “Jesus raising Thee up”; “Jesus crowning Thee.”
At the end of the first five mysteries, we say: “Grace of the Joyful Mysteries come down into our souls and make them really holy”; 117
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At the end of the second: "Grace of the Sorrowful Mysteries, come down into our souls and make them truly patient”; And at the end of the third: “Grace of the Glorious Mysteries, come down into our souls and make them everlastingly happy. Amen.”
THE MAIN RULES OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE MOST HOLY ROSARY Members should: 1. Have their names written in the Confraternity book, and, if possible, go to confession and Holy Communion and say the Holy Rosary the same day that they are enrolled; 2. Have a blessed rosary; 3. Say the Holy Rosary every day or at least once a week; 4. Whenever possible, go to confession and Holy Com munion the First Sunday of every month, and assist at the Holy Rosary Processions. Remember that none of these rules binds under pain of even venial sin.
The Power, Value and Holiness of the Rosary A Revelation of our Blessed Lady to Blessed A lan de la Roche T hrough tub R osary, hardened sinners of both sexes be
came converted and started to lead a holy life, bemoaning their past sins with genuine tears of contrition. Even children performed unbelievable penances; devotion to my Son and to me spread so thoroughly that it almost seemed as though angels were living on earth. The Faith was gaining, and many Catholics longed to shed their blood for it and fight against the heretics. Thus, through the sermons of my very dear Dominic and through the power of the Rosary, the heretics’ lands were all brought under the Church. People used to give munificent alms; hospitals and churches were built. People led moral and law-abiding lives and worked wonders for the glory of God. Holiness and unworldliness flourished; the clergy were exemplary, princes were just, people lived at peace with each other and justice and equity reigned in the guilds and in the homes. Here is an even more impressive thing: workmen did not take up their tools until they had said my Psalter and they never went to sleep at night without having prayed to me on their knees. If they happened to remember that they had not paid me this tribute they would get up— even in the middle of the night—and then would salute me with great respect and remorse. The Rosary became so widespread and so well-known that people who were devoted to it were always considered by others as obviously being Confraternity members. If a man lived openly in sin, or blasphemed, it was quite the usual thing to say: "This man cannot possibly be a brother of Saint Dominic.” I must not fail to mention the signs and wonders that I have wrought in different lands through the Holy Rosary: I have stopped pestilences and put an end to horrible wars as well as to bloody crimes and through my Rosary people have found the courage to flee temptation. 119
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When you say your Rosary the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too and I my self am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary. (Blessed Alan) Having been strongly urged to do so by Saint Dominic, all the brothers and sisters of his order honored my Son and me unceasingly and in an indescribably beautiful way by saying the Holy Rosary. Every day each one of them said at least one complete Rosary. If anybody failed to say it he felt that his day was entirely spoiled. The Brothers of Saint Dominic had so great a love for this holy devotion that it made them do everything better and they used to hurry to church or to the choir to sing the office. If one of them was seen to carry out his duties carelessly the others would say with assurance: “Oh, Brother! Either you are not saying Mary’s Psalter any more or else you are saying it badly."
The Salutation of the Rosary is Worthy of the Queen of Heaven "The Holy Angels in Heaven salute the most Blessed Virgin with the Hail Mary—not audibly, but with their angelic intelligences. For they are fully aware that through it reparation was made for the fallen Angels' sin, God was made man and the world was renewed" (Blessed Alan). One night when a woman Confraternity member had retired, Our Lady appeared to her and said: “My daughter, do not be afraid of me. I am your loving Mother whom you praise so faithfully every day. Be stead fast and persevere: I want you to know that the Angelic Salutation gives me so much joy that no man could ever really explain it.” (Guillaume Pepin, in Rosario aureo Sermon 47) Saint Gertrude corroborated this in one of her visions; in her Revelations, Book IV, Chapter II, we find this story: It was the morning of the feast of the Annunciation and the Hail Mary was of course being sung in Saint Gertrude’s monastery. During the singing she had a vision in which three streams gushed forth from the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and gently flowed into Mary's virginal heart The minute they reached her heart they bounded back to the source from where they had come. From this Saint Gertrude learned that the Blessed Trinity has allowed Our Lady to be most powerful next to God the Father, the wisest after God the Son, and the most loving after God the Holy Ghost. She also learned that every time the Angelic Salutation is said by the faithful the three mys terious streams surround Our Lady in a mighty, swirling cur rent and rush into her heart. After they have completely bathed her in happiness they gush back into the bosom of Almighty God. The saints and angels share in this abundance of joy as do the faithful on earth, who say this prayer. For
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the Angelic Salutation is the source of all good for God’s children. This is what Our Lady herself said to Saint Gertrude: “Never has any man composed anything more beautiful than the Hail Mary. No salutation could be dearer to my heart than those beautiful and dignified words that God the Father addressed to me Himself.” One day Our Lady said to Saint Mechtiide: “All the Angelic Salutations that you have given me are blazoned on my cloak.” (Then she held out a portion of her mantle.) “When this part of my cloak is full of Hail Marys I shall gather you up and take you into the Kingdom of my Beloved Son.” Denis the Carthusian, speaking of a vision of Our Lady to one of her clients, said: “We should salute the most Blessed Virgin with our hearts, our lips, and our deeds, so that she will not be able to say to us: “ These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ ” Richard of Saint Laurent lists the reasons why it is good to say a Hail Mary at the beginning of a sermon: 1. The Church Militant should follow the example of Saint Gabriel who saluted Mary with great respect saying the Hail Mary, before he told her the joyous tidings: “Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son . . .” Thus the Church salutes the Blessed Virgin before announcing the Gospel. 2. The congregation will derive more fruit from a sermon that is prefaced by the Hail Mary; the priest who gives the sermon has the Angel’s role as it were. But in order that the congregation may give birth to Christ in their souls (by faith) they must first of all obtain this grace from the Blessed Virgin who gave birth to Him the first time, and together with her they will become the Mothers of the Son of God. For without Mary they cannot produce Jesus in their souls. 3. The Gospels show up the power of the Hail Mary; people will get help from Our Lady through this prayer. 4. To say it is a great safeguard and a way of avoiding dangerous pitfalls: Mary, our llluminatrix, gives light to preachers. 5. The members of the congregation, following Our Lady’s example, listen more attentively and are more apt to re member God's words.
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6. The devil (who is the enemy of the human race and of the preaching of the Gospel) is driven off by the Hail Mary. This is most necessary because, to quote Our Lord’s words, there is danger of his coming to take the word of God out of people’s hearts, “lest believing they might be saved.” In his first sermon on the Holy Rosary Clement Losoun says: “After Saint Dominic had gone to heaven devotion to the Rosary waned until it was very nearly dead, when a terrible pestilence broke out in several parts of the country. The wretched people sought the advice of a saintly hermit who lived in the desert in great austerity. They besought him to intercede to Almighty God for them. So the hermit called upon the Mother of God, imploring her, as Advocate of Sin ners, to come to their aid. “Our Lady then appeared and said: These people have stopped singing my praises. This is why they have been visited with such a scourge. If they will only go back to the ancient devotion of the Most Holy Rosary, they will enjoy my protection. I shall see to their salvation if only they will sing the Rosary, for I love this type of chanting.’ “So the people did what Mary asked and made themselves rosaries, which they started saying with all their heart and souL"
Indulgences An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned. Indulgences are granted by God through the Catholic Church which, as minister of the Redemp tion, dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the saints. Though the guilt of sin and the eternal punishment it may have merited are remitted by sacramental absolution, measurable punishment before or after death is still required in order to satisfy God’s justice, even for sins already forgiven. To the extent we foil to atone sufficiently for our sins during our lifetimes on earth, we will suffer for a given “time” in Purgatory. An indul gence cancels or lessens this non-eternal punishment. In order to gain an indulgence, one must be baptized, not ex communicated, and in the state of grace at least at the comple tion of the prescribed work. In order to gain indulgences, one must have at least a general intention of gaining them. If at the beginning of the day we make an intention to gain all the indul gences we can that day. we do not have to make this intention each time we perform a work to which an indulgence is attached. An indulgence may be gained for oneself or may be offered for souls in Purgatory, but may not be applied to another living person. A plenary indulgence remits all the punishment due for sin and makes possible immediate entrance into Heaven after death.
The New Norms Tb gain a plenary indulgence, it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill three con ditions: sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pbpe. (The recitation of one Our Father and one Hail Mary fully suffices, though we are free to say any other prayer we desire.) It is further required that all attachment to sin. even venial sin, be absent. If the latter disposition is in any way less than complete or if the three prescribed conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be only partial. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or 124
several days after performing the prescribed work: nevertheless, it is fitting that Communion be received and prayer for the Pope's intentions be said the same day the work is performed. A single Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indul gences. However, one must receive Holy Communion and pray for the Pope’s intentions for each plenary indulgence. To be able to gain a daily plenary indulgence, one should go to Confession at least every two weeks. Only one plenary indulgence can be acquired each day. unless a person is at the point of death. In that event, even after gaining a plenary indulgence that day, one can gain the plenary indul gence fo r the moment o f death. A partial indulgence remits only part of the punishment due for sin and is now granted without designation of a specific num ber of "days” or "years." The faithful who, at least with a con trite heart, perform an action or recite a prayer to which a partial indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remis sion of punishment through the intervention of the Church. The amount remitted depends on the person's fervor, on the greatness of the sacrifice, and on how perfectly the act is performed. Any number of partial indulgences can be acquired per day. unless otherwise indicated.
Indulgences for Praying the Rosary A plenary indulgence is granted for reciting five decades of the Rosary in a church or public oratory or in a family group, religious community or pious association. A partial indulgence is granted in other circumstances. The five decades must be recited continuously. The vocal recitation must be accompanied by pious meditation on the mysteries. In public recitation the mysteries must be announced in the manner customary in the place; for private recitation, however, it suffices if the vocal recitation is accompanied by meditation on the mysteries.
Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary To enroll in the Confraternity and receive its many benefits under the special protection of Our Lady, write: National Direc tor, Rosary Confraternity, 141 East 65th Street, New \fork, N.Y. 10021.
Dear Reader, Having finished reading t h e s e c r e t o f t h e r o s a r y , you are called upon by Our Lady to act and to apply these life-saving instructions in your daily life. The world is in grave peril from Communism, and the Church is equally in peril from the enemy within, who seeks to disarm her by suggesting that we should abandon the Holy Rosary. Pope Paul VI warned us of this when he 6aid, ‘The smoke of Satan has entered ihe Church.” Have any of the Free World’s great powers in this cen tury been able to stem the advance of Communism—the direst foe of God in all history? But where man has failed, history records that the Rosary alone has succeeded. Aus tria, Brazil, Chile and Portugal all saved themselves from the peril of Communism—by the recitation of the Rosary. (Read Fatima the Great Sign for proof.) St. Louis De Montfort tells us (p. 97) that the Rosary was largely re sponsible for the crucial victory of Lepanto in October, 1571. Four centuries later, at the outset of Communism in 1917, Our Lady told us at Fatima: “If people attend to my requests, Russia will be converted and the world will have peace. If not, Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, fomenting wars . . . and various nations will be annihilated.” Can anyone deny that these calamitous events are com ing to pass in our times? The threat of worse suffering to come can still be averted, and another signal victory like that at Lepanto over the Turks can be won today, if enough people will respond here and now to Our Lady’s requests to do penance in reparation for sin (the cause of all wars) and especially “to pray the Rosary every day.” For all the vast paraphernalia of power politics are but a shadow compared with the infinite power of the Rosary before God, provided it is fervently used and propagated. Please do everything possible to help us make this vital book more widely known by sending for free copies of our leaflet on It for free distribution to your friends, plus de tails of special reduced prices for bulk quantities.
Inspiring books on Our Lady by Francis Johnston Fatima the Great Sign A new and very popular account (over 20,000 copies sold in the UK) of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima in 1917, where the awesome and unique miracle of the sun (pre dicted m o n th s in a d v a n c e ) was seen by up to 100,000 be lievers and agnostics. There is a superb full colour portrait of Pope John Paul II holding the book (he has read it). Besides a succinct account of the apparitions, for the first time we are presented with a wealth of quotations from re cent popes, cardinals, bishops and theologians stressing the paramount relevance of Fatima to the present world crisis and the state of the Church today. The Message of Fatima was chosen by the Pope as the subject for the 1983 Synod of Bishops. Read this vital book and then write your Bishop requesting the Collegial Consecration so vital to the conversion of Russia, as desired by Our Lady. This book absolutely disposes of the error that the Message of Fatima can be ignored as a mere private revelation. “A really comprehensive and authoritative work . . . well written and modestly priced.” T h e U niverse 156 pages 4th impression
Hie Wonder of Guadalupe A fascinating new account highlighting many remarkable features in the 450-year-old history of the sacred image. The author surveys the latest scientific examinations of the image, including the astonishing discovery by the camera under magnification of persons, clearly identifiable in the eyes of the Virgin, who are known to have been present in the room at the moment it was created. There is a full colour reproduction of the sacred image on the cover. “A brilliantly executed updating of all the worthwhile information about the Miracle of Guadalupe from the time of its creation up to the present.”—Dr. C. Wahlig, the leading lay apostle of Guadalupe in the U.S.A. 144 pages 50 illustrations
THE IS S U E IS SU RVIVAL!
P R IC E D LO W FO R D IS T R IB U T IO N
THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY To Friends and Neighbors. Ask doctors to give this book to their patients, employers to give it to their employees, parents to give it to college and high school students. Give it to opinionmakers such as editors, clergymen, religious teachers, writers, and elected officials. Give it to members of your church, club, or society. Distribute it at meetings, on trains, in motels. Ask your local news stands, bookstores and libraries to carry it. Do your part in this educational effort while there is still time to. ..
KEEP THE PEACE by Keeping America Spiritually Strong 1 5 10 25
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W HY THE ROSARY? (contin u ed from front co ver)
For h e alin g the evils o f our d ay
“We do not hesitate to affirm again publicly that We put great confidence in the Holy Rosary for the healing of evils which afflict our times."— Pope Pius X II A m eans of Christian perfection
. . Therefore we are sure that Our children and all their brethren throughout the world will turn (the R osary) into a school for learning true perfection, as. with a deep spirit of recollection, they contem plate the teachings that shine forth from the life of Christ and of Mary Most Holy."— Pope John XXI I I For success in o n e ’s vocation in life
“ I think that I did not miss a single day in reciting it. including the most terrible times of battle when 1 had no rest night or day. How often did I see her mani fest intercession in the decisions which I made in choosing a precise tactic. Take. then, the advice of an old soldier seasoned by experience: Do not ne glect the recitation of the Rosary for any reason.”— 'Marshal Foch, great military leader of WW. I As
“Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary'."— Pope Pius IX For final perseverance
“Those who say it fervently and frequently will gradu ally grow in grace and holiness and will enjoy the special protection of Our Lady and the abiding friendship of God. “ No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary— either he will give up sin or he will give up the Rosary."— Bishop Hugh Boyle
OVER 2.200.000 COPIES SOLD
The Secret o f the Rosary C anon W iliam says of D e M o n tfo rt’s book, The Secret of the Rosary —“ I t goes far beyond m ere research. W e m ight say th a t it contains ev erything t h a t can be said a b o u t th e rosary, its c o n t e n t a n d fo rm , i t s r e a l w o r th , a b o u t th e in stru c tio n necessary for its ap p reciatio n an d use.” D e M o n tf o r t c a lls th e ro s a ry “T h e m ystical rose tree of J e su s an d M ary in life, d eath , a n d e te rn ity .” H e says t h a t th e ro ses of y o u r ro s a r y w ill “ never w ilt or die, an d th e y will be ju s t as exquisite th o u sa n d s of years from now as th e y are to d a y .” H e w arns us ag ain st b o th th e ig n o ra n t and scholars w ho regard th e ro sary as so m ething of little im p o rtan ce . . . “T h e rosary is a priceless tre a su re w hich is inspired by G od.” T V S c rip t - O ct. 10, 1955
( The Age of M ary)